Review: 2018 Lake Cumberland Poker Run

Review: 2018 Lake Cumberland Poker Run

Raft-up photo courtesy Boater Vibes

As “Miss Powerboat Nation,” the captivating Brittany Dunn is the face of our humble high-performance empire. Brittany was our emissary at the recent Lake Cumberland Poker Run, with headquarters at State Dock Marina. We asked her about the festivities, and she filed the following report.

Lake Cumberland was straight up Mardi Gras on the water—we’re talking off-the-hook wild. There were probably at least 120 boats participating in this 12th annual poker run, which is about what we’ve seen in previous installments. Sadly, a few regular attendees with bigger boats were absent this year, including Bill Pyburn of Florida, Mike Pierce of Louisiana and Bill Tomlinson in his turbine-powered catamaran My Way. We missed them, but the turnout was still pretty amazing. The DCB Powerboats crew was there with a houseboat, as well as Brett Manire and the team from Performance Boat Center, Joe and Wayne Schaldenbrand from Sunsation Powerboats (with their new 39CCX center console), and Mike and Angela Goldbaugh with their 36-foot Skater. Brett Manire also had the new Wright Performance catamaran on hand, and it really turned a lot of heads.

I had a blast, but with only a couple of days, it’s hard to get around and talk to everybody. I make my rounds, walking the docks or swimming at Harmon Cove (aka “Party Cove”), always trying to connect with as many people as I can. I love re-connecting with all of the regulars, but it’s also great fun encountering all of the new faces each year, and posing for selfies with everybody. And since it’s in Kentucky, everybody is super hospitable.

As usual, one of the highlights was the scene at Harmon Cove, which has to be the world’s largest raft-up, with thousands of boats coming together to create this massive convergence of power and camaraderie, containing everything from 50-foot speedboats, jon boats, pontoons, houseboats—every single boat you could think of. They call it the Gauntlet, and it happens virtually every normal weekend. So just imagine what it’s like when you add in all of the out-of-towners who come in for the poker run. It’s mind-boggling, and it’s a huge blast. It’s nothing but beads and Jell-O shooters and bottles of Fireball being thrown at you.

During the poker run, I was lucky to be invited to ride with Adam and Amy Carpenter of Michigan, who own the black 34CCX Sunsation, Discrete. I met them there two years ago, and we’ve stayned in touch ever since. When I mentioned that I was coming to Lake Cumberland again this year, they said, “Well, we call dibs—you’re running with us!” The Carpenters hung around with Billy Georgiou, who was there in his MTI center console, Megaflexin.

Craig Ford of Campbellsville, KY, was the big first-place winner of the poker run. He took the grand prize of $5,000 for his incredible hand—a king-high straight flush! Dwane and Wendy Hall of Black Lick, OH, were the second-place winners of $3,000, with their full house, and Chad Asbury of Augusta, KY, got a third-place win of $2,000 with a a high flush.

I can’t wait for next year’s poker run!