The 2011 Desert Storm Poker Run is over. And man, what a show it was. We arrived Wednesday in time for the Desert Storm open house party at Oregon Custom Marine (OCM). OCM is a Frisini Motorsports dealer selling Spectre, Sonic and Frisini Motorsports boat brands. We had a great time. We caught up with old friends and met some new ones, too. OCM’s facility is first class. Our thanks to OCM, Lake Havasu Marine Association, Jim Nichols and the Desert Storm organization for their hospitality.
Thursday was the fifth annual Desert Storm Street Party. This was the largest gathering of high performance boats, marine propulsion and tow vehicles ever assembled. McCulloch Boulevard was jammed with displays on both sides of the street for more than a mile. Our Mercury Racing truck was parked in a prime location — perfect for one old gear-head. He looked up from his wheelchair at our QC4v 1100 and said, “Lord Jesus, have mercy.” Gotta be the quote of the day.
Four boat builders displayed seven boats powered by Mercury Racing 1350 sterndrives.
MTI had three 1350 powered boats on display. Albert Haynesworth’s 1350 MTI “Terminator” boat was there as was Derek Wachob’s 1350 “ZR48” Corvette themed boat. Bob Bull’s 1350 MTI 48 Race/Pleasure was displayed across the street from the Mercury Racing truck. Bob opened the engine hatches to provide viewing pleasure — or power lust — for the 1350 engine package.
David Wood’s Pier 57 poker run tractor trailer was just down the street. Pier 57’s gorgeous, multifunctional trailer is used to greet customers and promote MTI , Cigarette Racing and Mercury Racing brands. David also displayed his Cigarette 39 Top Fish center console with quad Verado 350 SCi’s.
Dave’s Custom Boats was just up the road on the right. DCB fans could get close and personal with Dave’s 1350 boats: Gary William’s M31 Wide Body or Mike Stevenson’s M35 Wide Body.
Ron Harrison’s 1350 powered Cigarette 46 XP Rider was on display at a location father down the street. Nordic’s 1350 powered 43 Enforcer catamaran would make its maiden voyage on the poker run Thursday.
Friday Poker Run
The weather held for the poker run on Friday with light winds early in the day and slightly cooler temperatures (mid-90s F). We parked our truck where it served as billboard and backdrop behind the poker run village. That gave some of us the opportunity get out on the water. Fred Kiekhaefer, Jeff Krueger, Kevin Skiba and Scott Reichow worked card stop #2, courtesy of Nordic. My nephew and I rode along with Rick Bowling in his OptiMax 300XS powered 28-foot Skater “Gone Again!” to get a good view from the spectator fleet. We were at a location where speeds were reaching 150 mph for the fastest class of boats. It was an impressive sight to see.
Randy Davis made his maiden voyage in the 1350 powered Nordic 43 Enforcer catamaran. We caught up with him at the party that evening. He couldn’t stop talking about the 1350s running qualities, torque capacity and incredible acceleration. The QC4v 1100 and 1350 engine packages were definitely the topic of discussion throughout the three-day event.
We awoke to 30 mph winds with 40 mph gusts. Speed trials were cancelled due to the wind. It’s unfortunate, but safety is first and most important.
The Desert Storm poker run attracts boating enthusiasts from all regions of the country. The London Bridge canal was packed with boats and all types of people – young and old. It was great to see people enjoying their boats and time on the water. We enjoyed our time in the desert. We look forward to Desert Storm 2012.