Poker run on water coming to Grand Traverse Bay | Local News … – Traverse City Record Eagle

TRAVERSE CITY — More than 50 powerboats are set to churn the waters in the Traverse City Invitational Poker Run.

The fundraising event will take place Aug. 18, with the boats getting started at 1 p.m. and finishing a couple hours later with a raft-off at Power Island, where the boats will line up side by side and tie-off together.

Matt Soper, chairman for the invitational, stresses that the event is not a race.

“It’s not a high-impact event,” said Soper, who is from the Traverse City area. “It’s not even a low impact event. It’s a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan.”

Soper said he expects to raise upward of $30,000 in one day.

Soper in 2017 had requested permission from the city to use its parks and marina to host a powerboat race in West Grand Traverse Bay this year. He predicted a crowd of up to 100,000 would watch three days of racing.

But city commissioners said no, agreeing the proposal didn’t meet the city’s high-impact event standards, and some city residents rejected yet another noisy event with big crowds.

City Clerk Benjamin Marentette said the poker run won’t be using any city property, other than boats staying at the marina. That means the city has no say in the event.

Soper said he obtained permits from both the Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Coast Guard — Steve Durden, chief of waterways management for Sector Sault Ste. Marie said event organizers would have their signed permit soon.

Greg Reisig, co-chair of the Northwest Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC), said the powerboats leave oily discharge in the water. All boats do, he said, but these are larger, more powerful boats that leave more residue behind.

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