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Thunder in Paradise!

Boat-Dock

Boyne City Marina was transformed to Thunder Boat Row June 12-13!

A lull in activity at the Mercury truck later in the evening on Friday..

A lull in activity at the Mercury truck Friday evening.

Kevin Skiba and I just returned from the 10th annual Boyne Thunder poker run. It is rare to come off of any travel feeling refreshed. But this event was refreshing – in many ways. As I had mentioned in my previous post, Boyne City is very close to my home town of Sault Ste. Marie. Driving across Michigan’s Upper Penninsula and over the mighty Mackinac bridge brought back many memories as we made our trek to paradise. I had forgotten how beautiful the area truly is.

All hands on deck for the drivers meeting Saturday morning.

All hands on deck for the drivers meeting Saturday morning.

OptiMax 250XS and 300XS powered cats were part of the mix.

OptiMax 250XS and 300XS powered cats were part of the mix.

We were impressed by the amount of people roaming about the waterfront upon our arrival Friday afternoon. Tad Whitten said our display truck was busy from the moment he arrived. Main street was jammed with people checking out the classic cars and performance boats.  It was great to see the community support an event in such a grand way. The incredible weather didn’t hurt either.

Hospitality Plus

Sunsation Boats' Bob Mytelka (L) and Kevin Skiba pose for the camera just prior to the  start of the run. Sunsation showcased their beautiful 34 center console with triple Verado 300s.

Sunsation Boats’ Bob Mytelka (L) and Kevin Skiba pose for the camera just prior to the start of the run. Sunsation showcased their beautiful 34 center console with triple Verado 300s.

Mercury Racing powered the majority of boats - including this gorgeous Cigarette with triple 700 SCis.

Mercury Racing powered the majority of boats – including this gorgeous Cigarette with triple 700 SCis.

There are certain unwritten rules and expectations that come into play when it comes to event support. Most promoters understand and deliver the basic needs and expectations of their sponsors. All could improve by emulating what the good folks in Boyne City are doing. It was refreshing to arrive on site with the Mercury Racing banners and pennant stringers visible in every direction.

The event’s main mission is to support Camp Quality  – a camp for kids battling cancer. The city is intimately involved, and a benefactor of the event’s success. The entire staff is voluntary and all proceeds go to the camp. No egos. No hidden agendas. Just a community event focused on promoting the sport we love which in turn supports a great cause.

Superintendent of schools by day - Boyne Thunder boat captain extraordinaire!

Bob Alger – boat captain extraordinaire!

This was refreshing as well. A woman driver while her husband ran the throttles!

This was refreshing as well. A woman driving with her significant other on the throttles!

Everyone we came in contact with was extremely friendly, even by  Midwest standards!  Event personnel, city officials and the general public came by to thank us for being there. We genuinely felt welcomed by all. We were also inundated with compliments regarding our products – both current and late model. The 1650 RACE sterndrive was again the star of our display. There were a couple of boats with QC4v power on the run. There was even a brand new Cigarette 42 Huntress with five Verado 350 SCis! That was impressive.

Even the 500 EFIs in Bob's 2001 FasTECH are immaculate - in looks and performance.

Even the 500 EFIs in Bob’s 2001 FASTech are immaculate – in looks and performance.

Fans lined both sides of the channel out to Lake Michigan! Note - this was 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning!

Fans lined both sides of the channel out to Lake Michigan. This was 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning!

I got in a conversation with some locals Friday night who were having fun jabbing each other about their boats and experiences on the water. Bob Alger, one of my new found friends, grew up in the area. He was telling me about his boat, an immaculate 2001 Formula FASTech 353 powered by twin 500 EFIs. Bob picked it up from a dealer on the East coast. When visiting with Bob – it doesn’t take long to figure out he is a clean fanatic! He said the boat was clean – but not, “Alger clean,” when he picked it up.

Boyne Thunder organizers sweat the details - this was a nice touch.

Boyne Thunder organizers sweat the details – this was a nice touch.

Bob was gracious enough to provide Kevin and me a ride along the poker run route on Saturday. I can attest the boat is “Alger clean” now!  The boat is immaculate. It looked better than new. The 500 EFIs ran great too!   I’m hoping Formula president Scott Porter had a chance to see it while there. Bob took us out to Lake Michigan to watch the boats as they made their way to Northport, the first card stop. We then proceeded to follow the boats in for the lunch stop in downtown Charlevoix. It was a great day on the water.

Sunsation's 34 center console at rest in Charlevoix for the lunch stop.

Sunsation’s 34 center console at rest in Charlevoix for the lunch stop.

You know you are involved in something special when your participation makes a difference. I met with Kristyn Balog, Executive Director of the Camp Quality USA Michigan office, just prior to the dinner. I provided her with two Mercury Racing Propeller Lab Finishing/Repair certificates and Mercury Racing gear bags for the Camp Quality auction. She was overwhelmed with emotion. She was genuinely touched by the outpouring of support event sponsors, participants and the community showed for “her” kids. That is what it is all about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Thunder in Paradise!”

  1. garry tolar says:

    Thank you guys for coming over. It was nice chatting with you and most of all Mercury rocks! Great looking,and awesome running motors. P.s. what a sweet cat in picture with those 250xs motors. Lol.

  2. Bob Alger says:

    On behalf of the Boyne Thunder committee, thank you to Mercury Racing and representatives, Kevin Skiba and Rick Mackie for joining us this year. It was a great event under great weather with some real serious hardware being brought to the event by some great boaters from around the country! Once the financials are complete I will let you know how much money was generated for the children of Camp Quality and Challenge Mountain.
    See you in 2014!! BA

  3. Thank you Mercury Racing for your sponsorship of this event and contribution to the auction, also. Great to know you shared the enthusiasm for this event from the boaters’ perspectives and the notable impact it has for these children battling cancer. Looking forward to 2014!

  4. Bob Alger says:

    Kevin/Rick,

    The Boyne Thunder committee has been meeting monthly since October and if we get our typical July weather in northern Michigan, this year’s event will be better than last year. I told you that I would let you know the contribution amounts made to Camp Quality and Challenge Mountain once all of the financials were complete. Actually, that was in October so I am a little tardy but the committee was very proud to issue checks to Camp Quality and Challenge Mountain totaling $57,432 late last fall. Of course the revenue was very well received!!
    This year’s event is scheduled for July 11/12 and I hope that you are able to join us again.

    Happy New Year,

    Bob

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