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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Poker run roars through Georgian Bay

Poker run roars through Georgian Bay

- Some boats can hit speeds of 120 mph



From Meaford to Port McNicoll, boaters will get the thrill of racing through the water this weekend for the Georgian Bay Poker Run.

There is a mandatory driver's meeting on Saturday morning, and the roar of the engines will start at 9:30 a.m. in Honey Harbour at the Delawana Inn, as the drivers are given their first poker card.

"The Honey Harbour area will vibrate with excitement as the anticipation builds and the crews pull away from the dock, make their way through the narrow channels to their starting point southeast of Beausoleil Island," said David Gravelle, organizer and president of WOW Special Event Management Inc.


Once the boats go past the markers, they will start the race to Christian Island.

"Some of the boats participating in this year's Power Boating Canada Magazine Poker Run can reach speeds up to 120 miles per hour. For many, the trip to Christian Island will be relatively quick, with Beausoleil First Nation Chief Valerie Monague seeing the first boats arrive around 10:45 a.m. at the island's ferry dock," said Gravelle.

There, the poker runners will get their second card and a small gift from the First Nation band council.

The next stop for the boats is in Meaford, and Gravelle predicts it should take approximately an hour to get there.

"The poker run concept was initiated in Meaford 17 years ago. This year, the Meaford and District Chamber of Commerce along with the Royal Canadian Legion and Richardson Boatworks will host the poker run lunch stop and hand out the third card."

After refueling, the boats will head back to the North Simcoe area, getting a card from Penetanguishene Mayor Anita Dubeau.

"Penetanguishene is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. Events being staged as part of the poker run festival weekend include a midway, a two-day event promoting the boating lifestyle, a visit by the American Great Lakes Cruiser Association, and a evening boat parade."

After the boaters pick up their cards, they will head to Port McNicoll and its waterfront festival. This year, activities have been expanded to include a vendor market, live entertainment, a charity barbecue, beer garden and a personal watercraft stunt show.

This is the second stop for boaters at the Port McNicoll harbour, after the Parade of Power on Friday night, where members of Community Living Huronia get to tour around in the speed boats.

"Port McNicoll will be the ideal location to see the boats up close, as well as experience some small-town hospitality as local performers entertain Friday evening and Saturday all day."

Tay Township Mayor Robin Talbot will also be on hand Saturday to deal card five in the afternoon.

Following the Port McNicoll visit, the poker runners will return to the Delawana Inn Resort for a cocktail reception and dinner, followed by the unveiling of the poker hands and the crowning of the 2005 champion.

Gravelle welcomes onlookers to any of the card stops, and for more information, call him at 549-8975, or check out the Web site at www.georgianbaypokerrun.com.

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