After Friday’s overwhelmingly positive poker run and Saturday’s top-speed contest, it’s official, the Tiki Lee’s Shootout On The River in Sparrows Point, Md., is here to stay. Take it from two people who didn’t just participate in both the poker run and the shootout, but also own businesses that sponsored the second annual event hosted by Tiki Lee’s Dock Bar and have already committed to returning to the event next year.
Backed by Teasers, the Maryland Offshore Performance Marine Center 36-foot Skater rocketed to a top speed of 138.3 mph to earn the Fastest On The River award at the second annual Tiki Lee’s Shootout On The River. Photos by Randy Nuzzo/PowerboatPhotos.com.
Those two are Bill Forenski, owner of WMF Watercraft Marine in Millsboro, Del., and Andy Imhof, owner of Maryland Offshore Performance Marine Center in Ijamsville, Md. Imhof, who participated in the poker run but not the “Run What You Brung” shootout in 2021, almost has to return in 2023 since his Teasers-sponsored 36-foot canopied Skater Powerboats catamaran clocked the highest top speed along the three-quarter-mile course on Saturday with a 138.3-mph pass so he has a championship trophy to defend.
“That was plenty of fun for a couple of days,” said an exhausted Imhof on Saturday night after earning the Fastest On The River award and getting the chance to race the aerobatic stunt plane as part of Saturday’s on-water entertainment. “The boat ran really good on both days. We did the poker run on Friday and had a great time. Then on Saturday we came back and didn’t do a thing to the boat except check over everything before we went out for the shootout.
“We got 132 mph on the first pass and 138 mph on the next one—our GPS showed a little faster than the radar gun both times—so I was hoping we would be in the 140s on one of our next two runs,” he continued. “Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to make any more runs because of the weather. That worked OK though because no one went faster than us anyway.”
Andy Imhof enjoyed getting to race an aerobatic stunt plane in his Skater during the shootout on Saturday. Photo courtesy Shane DeFries
Imhof said running with the stunt plane was an unforgettable experience.
“We did a couple of passes with the plane and we were well beyond 140 mph each time,” Imhof explained. “That was pretty awesome. I can’t thank David (Carey) and Shane (Shapiro) and the rest of the crew at Tiki Lee’s enough for the opportunity. They did a wonderful job with the event and provided a great value to all of us sponsors. From the slips and the service to the venue and the promotions, everything was amazing. I can’t imagine all the work it takes to put on the event. There were a lot of people there and a lot of boats coming in and out.”
Forenski couldn’t agree more.
“We had such a great time—David Carey and his team always do a good job,” said Forenski, who ran a couple of Avalon pontoon boats in the shootout the day after running his MTI 390X with his son, William, in the poker run. “The entire event is well worth it for us. Not only is it super fun, it’s great for brand awareness. We will be back next year, and I’m going to make sure I get my boats a little sooner so we’re not rushing to try to set them up for this event.”
The boats in Friday’s Tiki Lee’s Shootout On The River Poker Run were treated to excellent weather and water conditions.
Although he didn’t set any pontoon course records at the event as he was hoping, Forenski enjoyed seeing his son run their MTI down the course with veteran offshore racer Kevin Smith on the throttles.
“Kevin and Will ran the boat a couple of times, which was a great learning experience for Will,” Forenski added. “I honestly can’t say enough good things about Kevin and the event and the guys from Shaun Torrente Racing who managed to bring the MTI up from Florida for me so we could run it here. Omar (Calderon) came through in the clutch.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the Tiki Lee’s Shootout On The River poker run and top-speed contest.
Bill Nohle, one of more than 10 Maryland Offshore-supported customers who participated in Friday’s poker run, enjoyed the event in his 50-foot Cigarette Racing Team V-bottom powered by triple Mercury Racing 1075SCi engines that just received a full interior makeover thanks to the teams at Maryland Offshore and Waves and Wheels in Osage Beach, Mo. In fact, Nohle and his wife, Heidi, didn’t see the finished product until last week.
“We had a good run on Friday even though we got a little bit of a late start because we had a few gremlins to work out getting the boat back in the water,” said Nohle, who earned the “Most Horsepower” award (for the second-straight year) during Friday evening’s awards ceremony that followed the bikini contest. “I didn’t see the boat for the first time until a couple of hours before we took it to the launch ramp; my wife and purposely hadn’t seen any of it while it was in progress—we trusted the guys at Maryland Offshore and Waves and Wheels to do their thing. We just wanted something classic and clean, and they hit it out of the park.”
Bill Nohle had a blast taking his recently updated Cigarette 50 Marauder out for the Tiki Lee’s Shootout On The River Poker Run.
Nohle added that the boat received a ton of attention at the Tiki Lee’s docks after the poker run and throughout the day on Saturday.
“I still can’t believe how cool the boat turned out—Mitch (Kramer) from Maryland Offshore did such a great job with the new dash and all of the electronics and lighting in the boat is over the top,” Nohle said. “It was pretty cool to win the “Most Horsepower” award again. I told Mitch that is someone shows up with more power next year I might need to look at repowering with 1350s (laughs). Seriously the whole event was amazing and the weather worked out in our favor. I have to say, I was extremely impressed with the safety management of the poker run and the shootout. Jimmy (Jernigan, who managed the top-speed contest) did a great job. He brought the dive team over to go through Andy’s boat before he did the shootout and that resonated with me.”
While there weren’t too many boats that cracked the 100-mph mark on the shootout course, several center consoles posted respectable top speeds, including a gorgeous 43 Solstice from Midnight Express Boats that was powered by five Mercury Racing 450R engines and driven by Midnight Express owner Eric Glaser to a top speed of 86.2 mph. Glaser’s top speed was good for awards in two classes for fastest center console 40 feet and above and for fastest outboard-powered V-hull between 43 and 49 feet.
Along with the awards, Glaser and company had plenty to be thankful for as the Midnight Express contingent in the poker run stood out was pretty noteworthy.
Tom Caruso’s Total Marine 38-foot Fountain also got a chance to “race” the stunt place down the shootout course on Saturday.
Not only did the team behind Total Marine have fun in the poker run in co-owner Tom Caruso’s Fountain Powerboats 38 SC center console powered by quad Mercury Racing 450R engines, the crew was pleased with the 38-footer’s performance in the top-speed event as Caruso reached an impressive 97 mph on the three-quarter-mile course to lay claim to the center console 39 feet and below class victory.
Another notable shootout showing was the father-and-daughter duo of Erick and Ashley Pennypacker, who each took turns running their Scarab 1 21-foot V-bottom down the course. In her first top-speed contest, Ashley recorded a top speed of 80.4 mph in her dad’s Blown Budget Scarab. And while her father ended up running faster—he went 86.1 mph to win the 22- to 26-foot inboard V-hull class—the Delaware-based family ended up having a great time throughout the weekend.
In the outboard catamaran class, the award went to Maryland’s David Landsman, who reached 121 mph in his twin 450R-powered MTI 390X catamaran. Landsman, who is also a loyal Midnight Express center console customer, said he enjoyed watching the other boats run down the course, especially the exhibition passes with the stunt place racing 37-foot Midnight Express with the stunt plane racing alongside him.
Maryland’s David Landsman enjoyed running his MTI 390X in the poker run alongside his friend David Carey’s 37-foot Midnight Express.
Landsman made sure to praise Carey and the rest of Tiki Lee’s team for hosting such an outstanding event.
“What an amazing event—David and his crew killed it again,” Landsman said. “From the poker run Friday to the bikini contest and dock party that night, and then to wake up to do it all again with the Shootout on the River on Saturday followed by one of the sickest firework shows around. What can you say? Thanks for bringing such a great boating event to Maryland—I can’t imagine how much work went into planning such a big event.”
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