Between long days on the water and reunions with long-lost boating friends that often last late into the evening, poker games don’t lend themselves to early morning wake-up calls. And yet we were at 7 a.m. today at the municipal marina docks in Clayton, NY, readying three catamarans for a 45-minute race to Tin Pan Galley, a hot little spot for the little one. -lunch on the shores of Lake Ontario at Sacket Port.
Motorboat rides for the children of the Make-A-Wish of Central New York program and their family members were the highlights of the day at the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The breakfast race was the brainchild of Ken Lalonde, the upstate New York owner of a color-matched DCB Performance Boats M37R Widebody catamaran with his Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats 390 center console Sport and one of the organizers of this weekend’s 1000 Islands charity. Clayton Poker Race. So the early departure, which turned out to be more like 7:45 a.m. as the walking wounded made their way to the boats, was a must for Lalonde as he had to be back in time for the motor boat rides of today for Make-A-Wish. children and their families.
With some 90 trips to make, Lalonde couldn’t afford to be late.
Lalonde was joined in his 37-footer by event newbies Jeff Johnston and DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte, who traveled from their Southern California headquarters to be part of the event. Two MTI catamarans – a 390X owned by Scott Kottmann of Missouri and his father, Greg, and a 340X owned by Bill Eastman of New York rounded out the three-boat fleet.
Today, Powerboat Operators have used their catamarans and center consoles to provide nearly 100 boat rides for Make-A-Wish kids and family members.
That the St. Lawrence River is a sheet of glass surprised no one. Mornings are often like that here. But the mild conditions that persisted on Lake Huron to Sacket Harbor surprised everybody.
“We should all be grateful that we got here so easily,” said Devin Wozencraft, who joined Kottmann and two additional passengers in the 39-foot cat as they arrived in Sacket Harbor. “Lake Huron is almost never this calm.”
Wozencraft has traveled to the Thousand Islands region several times. But for Kottmann, who lives in St. Louis and does most of his boating on Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri, this weekend is his first visit to the famous waterway.
“It’s a bit intimidating,” he told one of his passengers during the Lake Ontario leg of the ride, then laughed. “I’m not used to looking over water and seeing no land.”
It was the first of two unique experiences for the Missourian, which represents Wozencraft Insurance at the Lake of the Ozarks. The second took the Make-A-Wish children and their family members for rides after returning to Clayton in his 39-footer.
“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “Giving these children rides made me smile.
Scenes from the breakfast hosted by Ken Lalonde this morning towards Sacket Harbor.
Giving rides to Make-A-Wish members and their loved ones also turned out to be a first today for fellow Missourian and Kottmann’s boat builder Randy Scism, owner and founder of MTI. And with a new MTI-V 50 luxury performance center console, there was no shortage of space for passengers.
“That’s why we are here,” he said. “It’s already the highlight of the trip.”
That was saying something for Scism, as he and his wife, Cherell, and MTI Sales Manager, Tom Stuart, enjoyed the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run event in 2018 and loved every aspect of it.
According to Bobby Cantwell, one of the event’s founders and organizers, such an immediate response to the tradition of the Make-A-Wish Boat Ride event is far from uncommon.
“The Make-A-Wish kids boat rides are always the highlight for me and many of our attendees,” he said. “That’s the purpose of our event.”
MTI 390X catamaran owner Scott Kottmann (seated and captured here after the morning breakfast run) said: “Giving these kids rides really made me smile.
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