When Louisiana’s one-of-a-kind Tickfaw 200 Poker Run hosted by Blood River Landing in Springfield was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of pandemic restrictions, several local performance boaters still managed to gather up during the event’s traditional first weekend of May timeframe to boat the local waterways and frequent any of the bars, food marts, gas stations and restaurants that were open. Mainly they did it to have a good time, but they also did it with the understanding of what the poker run meant in terms of economic impact to the area.
Louisiana’s Kort Wittich, who owns Motor Monkey and the stunning 40-foot Skater above, is ready to host friends from his home state and around the country during the Kort 200–3.0 from May 5-7 in Springfield and the surrounding areas. Photos courtesy Kort Wittich
They called it the Kort 200, after mainstay Tickfaw 200 participant Kort Wittich, who hails from Covington, La., and owns Kort’s Construction Services. He also happens to own a couple of attention-getting boats, a 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines and a 34-foot Sunsation Boats center console with triple Mercury Racing 450R engines providing the power.
Wittich, with his friend Nate Michel—who owns the Cloud IX 40-foot MTI catamaran—helping get the word out, organized evening cook-outs at Blood River Landing and a couple of lunch “stops,” meaning to-go orders from Sun Buns on Friday and outdoor seating at The Blind Tiger on Saturday, which happened to be the first day the restaurant was allowed to open its outdoor seating service.
“You know when we first did this in 2020, a bunch of us friends down here and a few people from out of town got together just to do it because it’s always on the calendar for us and because boating was something we could do without any restrictions during the pandemic,” Wittich said. “It was super low-key. Last year it was low-key, too, but there was a big turnout of boats because people figured the Tickfaw 200 would return. This year, I’m not sure what to expect, but I know it’s going to be even bigger based on comments Nate and I have been hearing when we were at the Miami International Boat Show in February and the MTI Owners Fun Run in March. After the event was cancelled this year for different reasons, a lot of people were asking us if we were going to do anything again.
“The amount of people that could show up is the reason we decided to make things a little more ‘official’ this year,” he continued. “Mainly, as people can see by the flier we put together with three days of activities, it was important to me that these places would be ready for all of us, especially the lunch stops.”
Set for May 5-7, the Kort 200–3.0 schedule includes a Thursday run to Blue Crab in New Orleans for lunch and back to Boopalus in Springfield that afternoon. On Friday, the boats will head to Blue Crab in Slidell, then over to Sun Buns Bar and Grill in Akers for the Good Vodka Party. Saturday’s fun will start at Tin Lizzy’s at 10:30 a.m. (all three days begin at that location and time) and the boats will run to The Anchor in Madisonville followed by a return run to Springfield for the Motor Monkey Party and Wet T-Shirt Contest at Prop Stop.
The boaters who gathered up for a couple of days in 2020 despite the cancellation of the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run never expected to be doing it for a third-straight year.
As you can see, the Kort 200 even has “sponsors” this year—Motor Monkey, which Wittich owns; Cloud IX, which is Michel’s boat; and Good Boy Vodka, courtesy of Alex Pratt, a fellow performance boater from Florida and Michigan who has become close friends with Michel and Wittich these past few years.
“From what I’ve heard, the Tickfaw 200 is going to be back on the books in 2023 and be bigger and better than ever,” Wittich said. “We have no intention of continuing this; we think of this as a way to bridge the gap between the last Tickfaw and the next one. We’re just making sure we keep this place and this date relevant—you know what I mean? We know lot of the people who own the places around here and it’s a big weekend for them. For some, it’s their biggest week of the year. To me, it’s important to make sure this happens. Between COVID and Hurricane Ida last year, everyone here has had a rough go of it. The least we can do is bring some familiar faces—and some new ones—back to town.”
For more information, feel free to contact Wittich or Michel via social media.
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