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Sound System Supremacy Up For Grabs At 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run

Want to start a robust argument in the go-fast boating world? Talk sound systems or—more precisely—who has the best one in his or her own boat. (Or just say, “Apache.”) Heck, there are entire companies such as Waves And Wheels in Osage Beach, Mo., dedicated to creating outrageous sound systems for equally outrageous boats.

In advance of the Friday evening stereo competition at the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run in 2019, Kelly O’Hara and his wife, Julie, gave rides to children in the Make-A-Wish program in their 36-foot MTI catamaran. Photos by Tim Sharkey copyright Sharkey Images.

Because tunes on the water matter.

Just ask Upstate New York’s Kelly O’Hara, a dairy farmer by trade and performance-boat enthusiast and audiophile by avocation. O’Hara owns a 36-foot MTI catamaran with a massive, custom-tuned stereo system, and he’s an odds-on favorite in any “stereo shootout,” a staple of go-fast boating events around the country.

Take the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run in Clayton, N.Y., which is scheduled for July 14-16. In years past, an unofficial “stereo battle” has erupted at the dock next to the 1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel following the Friday night street exhibit and celebration. And that gave O’Hara an idea.

Why not blend a friendly stereo competition with a little fundraising? Raise money for several charities including Make-A-Wish of Central New York which is, after all, what the event is all about. So O’Hara threw down the gauntlet on his Facebook page.

“As boating season nears, I’ve started seeing posts about stereo upgrades—some claiming that they’ve got the biggest, baddest, loudest, cleanest stereo on the water,” he wrote. “In an effort to bring awareness to this event and the charities it supports, I am offering a bounty for any permanently installed boat stereo system in boats registered for this event that can eclipse my MTI’s system during Friday night’s Dock Party. I’m talking sound quality, frequency separation, imaging, staging, SPL, etc.

“We’ll put together an agreed-upon group of peer judges to score this ‘stereo war,’” he continued. “The bounty will be $1,000. Show up and shut me down and the top judged boat receives $1,000 from me, plus I will match that with a $1,000 donation to the event charities.”

Now that’s a challenge—and one with a fine purpose. As O’Hara suggested in his post, competitors will need to avoid music with explicit language as the 1,000 Island Charity Poker Run is a family-oriented event.

O’Hara’s 36 footer boasts a remarkable sound system.

As the 1,000 Islands happening gets closer, the rules, format and fundraising elements of the competition will become more defined.

“Additional ideas are welcome, as long as the result is an increased charitable donation,” O’Hara wrote. “But I wanted to get this opportunity public before registration gets closed, to give all the heavy hitters a chance to get registered and participate.”

Speedonthewater.com will provide more details on the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run Friday night stereo competition as they become available.

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