The 14th Annual Desert Storm Poker Run and Shootout raised the heat scale as hundreds of boaters and thousands of spectators traveled to Lake Havasu City, AZ, to experience one of the hottest boating events of the year.
In typical high-performance fashion, the Desert Storm Poker Run and Shootout kicked-off in high-gear the third week of April 2012 with some new concepts and a modified course. But the excitement over the multi-day spectacle was at an all-time high-time with a full itinerary aimed to entertain the poker runners and marine manufacturers that traveled to Lake Havasu City, AZ, from across the United States.
Presented by LakeRacer LLC and Teague Custom Marine, the event was hosted at the posh Nautical Inn Resort, where participants always enjoy the resort’s popular hang-outs, The Naked Turtle Beach Bar and The Turtle Grill.
This year, the event kicked–off in conjunction with the Lake Havasu Boat Show April 21-22. Considered one of the West Coast’s most popular show of its kind, there was a series of impressive boat displays, in addition to an exciting water ski racing show presented by the National Water Ski Racing Association. The Legends by the Lake car show was another hit during the event.
The action continued Tuesday with an invitational-only Fun Run to Pirate Cove Resort (for manufacturers and sponsors), followed by the event’s popular Kruisin’ for Kids Charity on Wednesday. Several poker runners and manufacturers donated their time, effort and boats to give under-privileged children the chance to enjoy exciting boat rides in their high performance craft. Additionally, a fund raiser at an auction during the open house at Oregon Custom Marine and the tent sale auction (held during the street party) combined to raise an impressive $12,000. Additional proceeds were raised through the Poker Run Jackpot that raised $4,500 for another charity group, Soldiers Angles.
On Thursday at Noon, The Desert Storm Street Party kicked-off, which proved more popular than ever as approximately 100 boats from participants and manufacturers were on display along with over 50 vendors showcasing their wares, marine products and services. As always, the street party attracts the crowds and the 2012 event was no exception - McCulloch Blvd. buzzed with excitement.
“The street party is proving to be more popular than the actual poker run,” says co-producer Jim Nichols. “It was a very high point of the event. There was a great turn out of boats and the vendors attracted a lot of attention with their products and services.”
To raise the excitement level even further, the Desert Storm Poker Run Friday attracted approximately 157 boats with the opening ceremonies highlighted by the local Marine Corps Color Guard’s pledge and American Flag celebration. Following the ceremonies, crews met for the mandatory driver and safety meeting at the poker run village before the start of the run.
This year’s run served a full day of cruising with several card stops including the London Bridge Channel Parade, followed by stops in Havasu Springs (Station #1), Havasu Landing (Station #2), Thompson Bay (Station #3), and lunch at the Nautical Resort. The event continued throughout the afternoon with stops at Black Meadow Landing Station (station #4) and Crazy Horse (Station #5), followed by photo-ops, “the poker run hand turn-in”, and a poker run outdoor party with fireworks, which carried into the night.
On Saturday, to the delight of the hard-core performance enthusiasts, the spectators, and everyone involved, the famed Desert Storm Shootout took place. Event organizers arranged more than 50 runs on a two-mile course and in the end, Don London, running a 32’ DCB, hit a the top radar speed of 157 mph, earning bragging rights as “The King of the Desert.”
Next year’s 15th Annual Desert Storm Poker Run and Shootout is scheduled for April 24 – 27. For more information visit www.lakeracerllc.com.
STREET PARTY AWARDS
Best Graphics: Gary Smith; Tucson, AZ, (44’ Skater “Predator”)
Best Power: Ken Armstrong; Houston, TX, (48’ MTI Phantom w/Mercury Racing 1350’s)
Best Catamaran: Jon Roth; Harbor City, CA, (388 Skater “Zz” )
Best Vee Bottom: Kevin Schulte; Simi Valley, CA, (38’ Lip-Ship Cigarette “Out of Control”)
Best Interior: Gary and Rosemary Colledge; Lincoln, CA (44’ Skater “Colledgewood”)
Best Hauler: Jeff and Kim Howel; Council Bluffs, IA, (purple/gray sport chassis pulling a 42 MTI “Weigh Faster”)
Best of Show: Gerald Haning; Kaufman, TX, (F650 six door pulling a 36 Skater “Hollow Point”)
POKER RUN WINNERS
First Place: Jason Taverney of Huntington Beach, CA, Straight Flush (HTM SR24 “Wet N’ Wild”)
Second Place: Jim Griffin of San Clemente, CA, Full house (Ultra 26 Deckboat “NERO Sole”)
Third Place: Sean Moore of Cave Creek, AZ, Flush (Kings High) (46’ Skater “Lick This”)
Fourth Place: Carl Richardson Cave Creek, AZ, Flush (Formula F-280S)
All Photos by Todd Taylor Images, Bill Griffin, and Pat Richter