Even those unfamiliar with the performance-boating scene in New Jersey likely have heard of Thomas Anselmi, who owns a Donzi Marine 38 ZRC sportboat and could well be the brand’s biggest booster. Anselmi has tackled 20 poker runs in Atlantic City—going all the way back to the heyday New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club—and was part of a thick-as-thieves Garden State group that included Bob Christie, Joe Nasso, NJPPC president Dave Patnaude, Anthony Sauta, Charlie Amorosi, Pete Kleban and Dennis Patrick Tracy.
Extra-sporty seas greeted participants in this weekend’s Spartan Powerboat Club run to Atlantic City. Photo courtesy/copyright Mike Goode.
Taken too soon and sorely missed, Amorosi, Sauta and Tracy are gone, as is the club founded by Patnaude’s father, Ray. But to borrow from New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen in his aptly named song Atlantic City, “Everything that dies someday comes back.”
For Anselmi, his dear friends Amorosi, Sauta and Tracy are kept alive in his memory every time he hits the water—and with stickers on the side of his prized 38-footer.
“My fallen brothers are always with me,” said Anselmi, one of go-fasting boating’s true gentlemen who travels to poker runs around the country.
As for the Atlantic City event—now dubbed the Total Dollar Yacht Insurance Atlantic City Poker Run in memory of Cory Molinari and sponsored by Shocker Offshore Powerboats—it is alive and well in the hands of Del Flores and the New Jersey-based Spartan Powerboat Club.
But despite that this was just his second Atlantic City run with the Spartan Powerboat Club after completing 18 of them with the since-dissolved NJPPC, Anselmi is anything but stuck in the past.
“Del’s run is different and a little more laid back, but the Golden Nugget (host venue in Atlantic City) has stepped up its game and the awards dinner rocked this year,” he said. “Doing the run without most of my NJPPC family is hard, but the Spartan run is its own event and doesn’t try to recreate the old. It’s easy to separate the two and appreciate both in their own way.”
Like 41 other powerboat owners and their guests in this weekend’s event, Anselmi faced “legit four- to six-footers with eight-foot holes” once the run reached the Atlantic Ocean leg from its starting point at Barnegat Bay Marina in Brick, N.J. That led to most participants turning back and taking the inside route to their Golden Nugget Resort and Casino destination.
Enjoy more images from this weekend’s Spartan Powerboat Club event.
And once everyone arrived, the party was on.
“I believe this is the fifth year that I’ve done Atlantic City poker run and I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to be surrounded by such a good group of people,” Flores said. “But really what’s most exciting is to witness the old-school guys like Joe Calabro, Tom Toto, Tommy Anselmi and Pete Mazzo vibe with young guys like our newest member, Danek Laskowski, who ran his Statement Marine center console with eight of his buddies. They won the ‘Wildest Crew’ award for their enthusiasm and their energy, which was just infectious.”
“I really felt the support from Nick Buis of Statement Marine, who flew out from Florida with his family and some friends to support the Spartan Powerboat Club,” he added. “They definitely earned the ‘Travel Team’ award.”
Said Buis, “It was a great run with great people.”
Next up for the club and its members is the July 23 Speed Marine/EZ Boat Fenders Hudson River Lunch Run. But for the moment at least, Flore is enjoying the success of the Atlantic City happening.
“I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such supportive and wonderful members,” he said. “I can’t say it enough how much I appreciate them.”
Thomas Anselmi honors his dearly departed friends on the side of his Donzi 38 ZRC.