Buffalo Poker Run Celebrating 20th Anniversary

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One of the longest-standing poker runs in the United States, the Buffalo Poker Run will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Saturday, August 13. The event, which had 68 boats and 300 participants last year, runs on the Niagara River, the Erie Canal and Lake Erie, and is organized by the Buffalo, N.Y.-based Western New York Offshore Powerboat Association.

“We have members coming from as far away as Ohio and Michigan,” said Jason Graves, the secretary for the association. “We even have members who live in Florida but bring their boats up for the event.”

Templeton Landing in Erie Marina, which overlooks the Erie Basin and Buffalo Light House, is home for the Friday night reception and Saturday night awards dinner. The decidedly scenic event has five stops, and the course includes a run around Grand Island.

“You can actually see the mist from Niagara Falls,” said Graves.

A portion of the proceeds go to Buffalo-based Excalibur Leisure Skills, which according to its website provides “cost-free boating and fishing opportunities for the disabled and disadvantaged.”

 “This year, we’ll be a cutting a check to them for about $4,000,” said Graves.

Graves added that photographer Tim Sharkey of Sharkey Images will photograph the event this year.

“This is the first time we’ve worked with Tim,” said Graves. “We’re very excited to have him here.”