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West By South By Northeast: Three Poker Runs On Tap


When it comes to diverse waterways, it’s hard to top this coming weekend’s trio of poker runs. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

Scanning the roster of upcoming high-performance powerboating events this weekend, I spy three “major,” a subjective descriptor to be sure, poker runs. And given this summer’s crazy event schedule, three poker runs make for a fairly light weekend. On the other hand, no trio of happenings on the same weekend this summer will offer more vastly different experiences, at least from the perspective of waterways—Lake Erie in New York, the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and California’s Sacramento River Delta—to be traveled and experienced.

Let’s start with the Big Cat Poker Run. (Why not? It’s close to my home in Northern California, offshoreonly.com columnist/speedonthewater.com co-publisher, Jason Johnson and hotshot photographer Erick Bryner will be there to cover it and I’m completely biased.) Based out of the performance-boating hotbed of Discovery Bay, about an hour inland from San Francisco, the Big Cat Poker Run plies the Sacramento River Delta and its connecting canals, which make for one of the more unusual poker run environments. The canals snake their way through lush Central Valley farmland, so when you’re running the Big Cat you feel as if you’re in the middle of low-lying nowhere, which you pretty much are. Last year, the event pulled in 92 boats. This year, Glenn Hoffman and his fellow organizing team members are hoping for 100 entries. Last but not least, thanks to the good people of Discovery Bay the Big Cat Poker Run is among the most welcoming and inclusive events of its kind.

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