In Louisiana performance boating circles Kort Wittich, who owns Kort’s Construction Service in Covington and founded the patented outboard engine shield and fender company Motor Monkey a few years ago, is pretty well known. Not only is he a nice, fun and generous person, he’s owned several cool performance boats—his most recent being a Sunsation Boats 34 CCX with triple Mercury Marine Verado 300 engines that he sold not too long ago and a stunning Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran that was recently repowered with twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines by Gulf Coast Complete Marine Service in Texas.
Kort Wittich and his friends took to the Tickfaw River, Lake Pontchartrain and the surrounding Louisiana waterways in lieu of what would have been the weekend of the popular Tickfaw 200 Poker Run. Photos courtesy Kort Wittich
So it made complete sense that Wittich decided to get together with a handful of his closest local powerboat friends last week for what should have been the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run, easily his favorite event of the year. The popular annual event, which is hosted by Blood River Landing in Springfield, La., was cancelled back in March due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and he was saddened about his hometown event not happening.
“Before I threw out the invite to a few of my friends, I ran it by Joey (Fontenot, owner of Blood River Landing) and Casey (Harrison, the event’s lead organizer), because I didn’t want to step on any toes or cause any problems,” said Wittich, a longtime supporter and participant of the poker run. “They told me they were OK with it but they didn’t have any event permits so they couldn’t open anything up for us. So we brought our campers and we grilled and cooked at the marina every night. One of the days I catered a crawfish boil that was amazing.
His friends dubbed it the “Kort 200” although Wittich, who has a new Sunsation Boats 34 CCX with triple Mercury Racing 450R engines coming soon, wasn’t looking for the credit.
“I really just wanted to get out with my friends and boat,” Wittich said, adding that his Back 2 Kort Skater ran great. “Mike and Angela Goldbaugh came out with their 36-foot Skater, Nate Michel brought his MTI and James Branton brought his Skater 388. The guy who bought my Sunsation came, and we had a couple of other center consoles and outboard-powered cats join us at different points while running around. I lined up a few places to go hang out where we could keep to ourselves. On Friday we went to Sun Buns and they had food and drink orders to go ready for us at the docks. Then we went to The Blind Tiger in Slidell on Saturday and it was the first day they were allowed to have outside seating so that was cool. From there we went back to a sandbar and hung out there for a while. I’m happy we made something happen.”
Although incredibly fun, Wittich did say that the “Kort 200” was no substitute for the actual poker run considering he wasn’t able to execute on the Motor Monkey promotions he was planning for Tickfaw.
Wittich’s friend Michel was grateful for the effort Wittich put forth.
“Oh man, we had such a great time last week,” said Nate Michel, who owns the radical Cloud IX MTI 40-foot catamaran, which he was towing to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks on Wednesday for this weekend’s Performance Boat Center Spring Fun Run. “I think we ran close to 200 miles. This is all of our home water so we were out there to enjoy some boating and set a good example. Kort had lined up some places for us to go that were expecting us so it was kind of like Tickfaw without all the stress. Everything was super relaxed.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images from last weekend’s Kort 200.
Michel was grateful to be able to run his gorgeous MTI, which he spent a couple of years completely overhauling before showcasing it at last year’s Tickfaw 200, for the first time since it was repaired following a trailering accident en route to the Key West Poker Run in November.
“The boat ran great,” Michel said. “We broke a prop the first day out; fortunately Kort had a spare set and we put them on, and the boat ran even better. I told Kort, ‘Sorry man, you’re not getting your props back.’ They’re with me now on the way to Ozarks.”
Michel laughed, paused and then said the only thing that would have made last weekend better was if his late best friend, Michael Pierce, was there with them. He said they had a cool tribute planned for Pierce at Tickfaw so he was disappointed they didn’t get to carry it out. Michel explained that at the stops with preferred dock parking that he and some friends had purchased an extra slip reserved in Pierce’s name that would remain empty in his honor.
“It sucked we didn’t get to honor Mike as planned, but I’m still going to do that at every event I go to this year,” Michel said. “There will be my boat and an empty space next to it in memorial to Mike.”