As the ever-improving Tickfaw 200 Poker Run wrapped up its 29th year of bringing boaters together in the Louisiana Bayou, one could only wonder what the event could have in store come 2017 to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
The two-day, 200-mile poker run hosted by Blood River Landing in Springfield, La., is arguably the nation’s biggest and most outrageous performance boat event, and each year the reviews seem to get better. Speedonthewater.com photographer Pete Boden enjoyed his first time at the poker run immensely thanks to his local hosts, Craig and Patti Mears, and is sure to return for the 30th Tickfaw 200 with an even better lay of the land.
Editor’s note: To be clear, Shoot 2 Thrill Pix ace photographer did a fine job (as you can see in the slideshow below), but as Boden said following two days of shooting, it’s a lot easier to capture an event when you’re familiar with the location and the setup.
Someone else who is sure to return next year is AJ Phillip, the performance boater from Waggaman, La., who has done the Tickfaw 200 at least 10 times and is no stranger to traveling to poker runs around the country.
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the 2016 Tickfaw 200 Poker Run.
“Man we had such a great time—I think this event gets bigger and better every year,” said Phillip, who ran his 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran No Plans in the poker run and was named “King of the Tickfaw 200” alongside the Queen—Jessicca Wittich of Covington, La., who did the run with her husband, Kort, in their 38-foot Skater. “There were so many boats here, and a lot of them were from out of town. We even had boats from California and Canada come for event.
“I’m always impressed with how well the crew at Blood River takes care of getting the boats in and out of the water,” he continued. “Joey (Fontenot), Casey (Harrison) and the rest of the team really put together a first-class deal. Charlie (“Crazy” Charlie Albert, the previous owner of Blood River Landing who died in 2009) must be watching over and be so proud of what Joey has done to carry on the tradition.”
Kort Wittich, who had a great time running his 388 Skater, said that the weather was great and that he continues to be blown away by how many boaters show up for the poker run each year. Organizers tallied 340-plus boats in attendance and more than 400 poker run hands sold. Kort added that Jessicca enjoyed being crowned “Queen of the Tickfaw 200,” a title established for the first time this year to add a little extra entertainment to the mix.
“It was pretty funny because they dressed up AJ and Jessicca and escorted them to the front of the Fun House, and then the local sheriff introduced them and they had a king and queen dance,” Kort said. “Everyone got a kick out of it. We ended up having a great time all weekend. I think everyone had a blast.”
While there was a minor accident during the event on Saturday afternoon—an Outerlimits V-bottom hooked and spun out, ejecting all of its passengers and sending two to the hospital with minor injuries (they’ve since been release, according to Harrison)—the rest of the run was safe and uneventful.
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