Just over the last couple of years I’ve noticed some rather large power boats out on Lake Erie. When I was younger they were everywhere. These days, with the price of gas and the safety restrictions that are in place, it’s not the same freewheeling lifestyle that we saw 20 years ago. As the waterfront becomes more diverse with boat-friendly venues and active with people, there will naturally be a calling for speed boats again. Not that we will see the hoards that we once had any time soon, but these speed demons are definitely still active on Lake Erie.
To get a glimpse of the boats in action, all you have to do is attend the 23rd Annual Poker Run at the Buffalo Harbor. Sponsored by the Western New York Offshore Powerboat Association’s (WNYOPA), the event is scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 8 and 9, 2014.
Incredibly, the race sold out over two months ago (114 boat limit), and has a waiting list of 24 additional boats. That’s good news for race enthusiasts and organizers.
Not all of the boats are from Buffalo. Many are brought here on trailer. The race is highly anticipated due to the well-oiled machine that runs it and the scenic beauty of the region. Starting at the Erie Basin Marina and ending at Mickey Rat’s, participants collect poker cards along the way. This year there is an additional heat for racers who just can’t compete with the top speed racers.
*The event kicks off Friday at 6 pm at Templeton Landing in downtown Buffalo. The public is invited to stop by for a free viewing of performance boats on display. The race starts at 10:30am on Saturday. Partial proceeds go to Excalibur Leisure Skills, an organization dedicated to providing cost free adaptive boating and fishing opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged individuals.
Learn more on www.buffalopokerrun.com
Photographer Tim Sharkey of sharkey-images.com