The 16th Annual Lake St. Clair Fun Run hosted at the MacRay Harbour Marina in Clinton Township, MI, June 27, attracted 54 performance boats and 260 people supporting Special Olympics Michigan.
Hosted by two third party fund raising organizations called the Water Warriors and Wertz Warriors, chaired by Ann Plegue and held in conjunction with Sunsation Powerboats, this year’s event raised $19,675, which surpassed the event’s goal of breaking the $200,000 mark. To date the poker run has raised approximately $204,000 for Special Olympics Michigan.
The Annual Lake St. Clair Fun Run was just one of several events this year to support Special Olympics Michigan. For example, from July 23 thru July 27, the Water Warriors held its annual 350-mile PWC endurance ride along Lake Huron and the St. Clair River (while its sister organization, the Wertz Warriors, hosts its annual 900-mile snowmobile endurance run through northern Michigan every February). All of the proceeds from each event support several initiatives involved in hosting State-wide Special Olympics competitions.
“Special Olympics Michigan provides special training and competition for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities,” said Kimberly Purdy, Sr. public relations director and marketing for Special Olympics Michigan. “We use the sport as a vehicle to provide the athletes with inclusion, respect, unity, and of course, competition and team work to more than 20,000 athletes in Michigan.
“It’s the efforts of the Water Warriors and Wertz Warriors that help us keep our movement alive,” added Jim Adams, Special Olympics Michigan events manager. “Through these initiatives, athletes compete at no cost to them or their families. So that’s why the support is so important.”
This year, the event kicked-off at the posh MacRay Harbour Marina in Clinton Township with breakfast, along with opening remarks by representatives of Special Olympic Michigan, Water Warriors member Dennis Plegue and president of Sunsation Powerboats, Wayne Schaldenbrand (who is also a member of Wertz Warriors).
Following breakfast and the opening announcements, the players made their way to the slips to prepare for the run. This year’s event consisted of five card stops, including the playing of the first and fifth card at the hosting facility.
At 10:30 a.m. sharp the group made their way out to Lake St. Clair, on route to Sinbad’s located at the mouth of the Detroit River for Card 2. Following a nice break and lively conversation among the players, it was time to head back to Lake St. Clair for Brown’s Bar on Harsens Island to enjoy lunch and play Card 3. With excellent weather and calm waters with a slight chop, poker runners had no problem making their way for the extensive run directly across the lake.
After a hearty and relaxing lunch, it was time to hit the open water and complete the short blast to the The Algonac Harbor Club for Card 4, before returning to the MacRay Harbor Marina. At the hosting facility, many of the players opted to anchor just outside of the marina to sun bathe, enjoy a beverage or two and just enjoy a relaxing anchorage.
Following dinner, the winners of the run were announced. Taking first place was Shawn King of Stoney Point, ON winning $1,000 and second place was won by Gary Pipia of Waterford, MI, who took home $400. In third place was John Muller of Algonac, MI, who won $100.
“Sunsation has been involved in this run for the last 16 years. We had no problem meeting our goal of breaking the $200,000 mark,” says Schaldenbrand. “We had a great turn out. We have had less participants in recent years due to the weather but this year was one of the greater events with excellent support. This event seems to work well for us and more importantly, for Special Olympics Michigan.”