Commentary: There’s Always One

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As in years past, Operation Shore Fun provided powerboats for veterans injured serving their country. Photo by Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.

For the fourth rear in a row, longtime marine writer Tony Esposito covered the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club’s Atlantic City Rally for speedonthewater.com. Per event tradition, Saturday’s free powerboat rides for veterans, many of them injured in combat, and their families, followed Friday’s on-water jaunt from Toms River to the Golden Nugget Resort and Casino host venue. Called Operation Shore Fun by NJPPC president Dave Patnaude, the boat rides for veterans are an essential part—maybe even the most essential part—of a fine weekend.

An outdoor café overlooks the dock area where the veterans, with help from volunteers, board and debark for powerboats rides. The rides began in the mid-morning and ended in the late afternoon. According to Esposito, everyone from the veterans to the boat drivers was delighted with the way things went.

Strike that. Not everyone was delighted. In fact, one man who approached Esposito was downright annoyed with the engine noise coming from the powerboats as they idled while they picked up and dropped off their passengers—many of whom had to be picked up themselves to get in and out of the boats—at the docks.

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A Headline Without a Story—Hemmingson Leaves DCB

Among the things we enjoy most about our careers are the relationships we’ve built with performance-boat industry insiders who trust us with the ability to share information in a timely, professional manner. Burn a source or release information too early and you lose the source. It can take a lifetime to build trust, and only a moment to destroy it. Often some, if not most, of the information is first disclosed off the record or in an “embargo” format meaning it can’t be released until an established time.

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There's no doubt the team at DCB Performance Boats will miss founder Dave Hemmingson (far right), but the company is in good hands with an extremely bright future ahead. Photo courtesy DCB

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Four—More Like 70-Plus—Horsemen To Ride Again

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Heading into its eighth year, the annual event on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago is sure to attract a fine group of folks for all the right reasons this weekend.

When you think of “destination” go-fast boating waterways—the kind you feel compelled to experience before you die—Lake Winnebago probably doesn’t leap to mind. That’s not a dig on the relatively narrow, 28-1/2-mile long Wisconsin waterway roughly 75 miles north and slightly west of Milwaukee, but you just don’t come across a whole lot of folks who say they’re dying to run there.

So why then will this weekend’s Four Horsemen Poker Run—happening for its eighth year—on the small lake attract more than 70 boats from the Midwest, Northeast and Canada? Why has Vinnie Diorio, a well-known member of the high-performance powerboating community who owns an Outerlimits SV 43 sportboat, religiously attended the run for the past five or six years? Why is Anthony Scioli, the head of Elite Poker Runs LLC, the organization producing the 2017 Erie Poker Run, Western New York Poker Run, Mentor Poker and Grand Island Poker Run heading to Lake Winnebago to check it out this weekend? Why does either Scott Sjogren or Greg Weber of Mystic Powerboats sales put it on their hectic schedules each year?

Because it’s really cool and casual, filled with good people and always delivers a great time—that’s the book on the Four Horsemen Poker Run, which derives its apocalyptic name from any number of literary sources, including the New Testament of the Bible.

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Business as Usual for Pirates of Lanier

Around this time last year, I wrote my weekly column about the excitement I was feeling leading up to the Pirates of Lanier Family Poker Run in Georgia. I had never covered the over-the-top, wildly generous and super-attended event in person so I was looking forward to seeing some friendly faces and meeting some new ones at the eighth annual spectacle that was presented by performance boater Dan Jape’s Reliable Heating and Air.

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Lake Lanier Islands Resort, an impressive destination on Georgia’s Lake Lanier, is hosting the Pirates of Lanier Family Poker Run again. Photo by Jason Johnson

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Real Heroes Getting Recognition

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For a Houston-based United States Coast Guard crew, tenacity and tactics saved two lives.

An uneasy mix of gratitude and dread grabs me every time I see one of those orange United States Coast Guard helicopters high above my home and on its way to the Pacific Ocean waters off Northern California. The water is cold year-round here, and while the biggest seas save themselves for winter—the famed Maverick’s big-wave surf spot is less than 30 minutes from my doorstep—they can rise without warning. In the afternoons here, onshore winds tend to howl.

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