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What A Start To The Tickfaw 200 Poker Run

Besides maybe the Desert Storm Poker Run in Arizona or the Florida Powerboat Club‘s Key West Poker Run, most of the time when I go to a poker run, Thursday is a travel day, not the day you don’t want to miss. Well, welcome to Tickfaw—things aren’t quite the same here in the Louisiana Bayou.

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Louisiana’s Nate Michel got to show off Cloud IX, his 40-foot MTI that he spent a couple of years redoing, at his hometown event, the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

Throughout the day, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to admit that this was my first time attending the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run (especially since I’ve covered the event from afar for close to 10 years), but as it turns out I’m not the only one who had never been to what many people believe is the coolest poker run in the country.

My friend Jim Lee, who I first met during a poker run to the Bahamas 12 or 13 years ago with the former Platinum Powerboat Club, had never been to the event and he was as giddy as can be on Thursday morning when photographer Pete Boden and I wandered upon his campsite at Blood River Landing in Springfield, which was situated right next to our friends, Mike and Angela Goldbaugh, who own the spectacular Skater Powerboats 368 catamaran Late Fee$ X2.

Lee didn’t bring his radical 46-foot Skater catamaran—he doesn’t have to because most of his friends owe him rides anyway from all the times they got to ride on Freedom, Double Take or, better yet, Christina—but he couldn’t wait to get out on the water and see what the poker run had to offer.

Lee was one of many people I came across on Thursday—the “kick-off” day for the 200-plus-mile event hosted by Blood River Landing—and I’m pretty certain this won’t be his last time at the event. While walking around the property that can accommodate more than 60 RVs and God knows how many boats and trailers (organizer Casey Harrison said that 250 to 300 trailer tags won’t be out of the question this week), it was just like a family reunion—even though I had never been to the event before.

Check out the slideshow above for a few more images from the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run on Thursday.

On the contrary, my spectacular hosts for the weekend—Louisiana’s Craig and Patti Mears, who have treated me like I’m part of the family—know the waterways like the back of their hands. They also put together an authentic and entertaining crawfish boil at their home in Springfield on Thursday afternoon that was unlike anything I’d every experienced. It wasn’t just the food that was different (and delicious), it was the welcoming neighbors and the joyous performance boaters from all parts of the country that gathered at the Mears’ tranquil waterfront home just north of the Tickfaw River.

Besides getting a better understanding of the lay of the land, the highlight of the day for me was getting to see another friend, Louisiana’s Nate Michel, put Cloud IX, his recently redone 40-foot MTI, in the water for the first time at Blood River Landing.

Painted by The Art Of Design with a full custom interior courtesy of Hydro Flats and Island Audio as well as engine compartment rigging and setup by Gulf Coast Complete Marine Service, the five-seat catamaran is absolutely stunning. Look for a full story on the project soon on speedonthewater.com along with some running shots of the beautiful MTI.

And keep an eye on speedonthewater.com the rest of the weekend for more coverage from the 2019 Tickfaw 200 Poker Run.

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