The welcome wagon ahead of the 20th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Boyne City, Mich., fell nothing short of my expectations on Thursday. In fact, the UnRiehl Performance-backed lunch run to Bay Harbor and the American Custom Marine-hosted welcome party at Boyne Mountain Resort were larger than ever and light years better than the last time I attended the event in 2018.
Organized by UnRiehl Performance, Thursday’s fun run to Bay Harbor for lunch continues to attracts more boats each year. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix and Jason Johnson/Speedonthewater.com
The number of people who have added both events to their schedule, meaning they arrive in Northern Michigan on Wednesday, is pretty staggering. That both UnRiehl Performance and American Custom Marine attend each other’s events and work with the event organizers to promote everything together is a win-win for not only the event and the powerboat-focused businesses, but for the boaters who spend their time and money to participate in the event that benefits two incredible local charities, Camp Quality and Challenge Mountain.
On a personal note, it felt great to be back in Boyne City. Because speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden is also the event’s official photographer and because my business partner, Matt Trulio, has attended two of the last three poker runs, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone for that long. It helps that I cross paths with many of the Michigan boaters I consider friends at other events around the country. Still, it was too long and it won’t be that long before I return.
It was good to run into so many friendly faces, including Chris and Quinn LaMorte from New York, Jeremy and Kristie Tschida from Minnesota, Greg Harris and Yvonne Aleman of Florida, Jon and Kerri Parks of Ontario, Canada, and Performance Boat Center co-owner Brett Manire and his sweet daughter, McKinley, plus the Scism family behind MTI—Randy and Cherell and their daughter, Taylor, and her fiancé, Shaun Peters.
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the Thursday fun run and welcome party.
In terms of the Michigan crowd, that list of friendly faces was even longer and included Burton and Yvette Kirsten, Todd and Danielle Fountain, Matt and Chelsi Soper, Rudy and Jen Torres, Ron Meyering, Ron Szolack and the whole gang from Sunsation Boats, which proudly supports the event and its local dealer, UnRiehl Performance. I do have to call out the one-of-a-kind Bill and Lori Lemanske, who first introduced me to the event in 2014 when I got to ride with them in their Nor-Tech center console and their going-into-high-school son, Billy, who is currently working toward a Masters degree.
All in all, it was a great day. Jim Riehl of UnRiehl Performance appeared to be having a great time at NOMAD. while looking out over the harbor at all of the boats in attendance. And he confirmed it when I asked him whether the event was worth organizing. All he said was, “Are you kidding me? We love doing this. It’s the least we can do for our customers and the Boyne Thunder participants.”
By the end of the day, American Custom Marine owner Mike Knoblock, who seemed to be enjoying the party while making the rounds at the Clock Tower Lodge at Boyne Mountain, was exhausted. And I could see why. If I were him, I know I would be contemplating the effort. Rest assured Mike, everyone loves it—keep up the good work.
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