This last weekend we went along with Poker Runs America Season opener in Tampa Bay, Florida. We arrived in Tampa to perfect weather and ideal conditions for a great run.

Poker Runs America has a total of nine events scheduled for the 2013 season. Todd Taylor of Poker Runs America, told me they are planning to lower the entry fees of some of their runs to target smaller boats and to bring new boaters to the poker run activity. “We are running out of new boaters and our future rests on attracting new blood to this lifestyle and grow the numbers” Stated Todd.

Dubbed the “New Wave” in performance boating, I think they may be on to something, while we were waiting at Hula Bay for the group to arrive for the final card stop. I struck up a conversation with a spectator from Canada, who runs his 21 ft Stingray in the 1000 Islands Poker Run promoted by Poker Runs America. He was excited to participate and not intimidated by the big fast boats, just the opposite as he knew all about Bill Tomlinson’s Mystic My Way and looking forward to seeing it run again this year.

This new wave of performance boating and lower or no entry fee does make it hard for the business driven poker run clubs to make the financial proposition work, but the future of organized Powerboating events as a key element to maintain and grow the segment for the overall industry may be just what we all need. I don’t believe the large premier events will ever go away but Poker Runs America efforts to bring entry level boats to the excitement is sure worth exploring and may be what keeps all the related businesses in business.

This Tampa Bay run only had 9 boats arrive and engine trouble took out one, But even with a few boats everyone had a great time and it really put the fun in what a fun run is. Boating, swimming, and hanging by the pool at the marina.

PowerBoat Nation is looking forward to participating in as many events as possible this year: