The Boyne Thunder Poker Run has become the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic to the 2020 powerboating event schedule.

In a prepared statement, committee chairman Robert Alger and the poker-run planning committee, together with the Boyne City Main Street board, announced the cancellation of the 2020 event that was set to take place July 10-11, citing COVID-19 concerns.

“Safety and security are the number-one priority in the planning of the event,” Alger said. “Due to concerns for the wellness of participants, spectators, the large crowds that gather to enjoy the event, and the Northern Michigan communities involved in the event, the decision was made to cancel. It is with a heavy heart that the 17th Annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run announces cancellation. While it is our great pleasure to bring speed and excitement to Boyne City and Northern Michigan each July, the decision needed to be made to protect all involved and look forward to the 2021 event.”

Like most of the nation’s poker runs, fun is only part of the equation. Boyne Thunder raises a lot of money for children with cancer and people with disabilities. The success of Boyne Thunder achieving its mission in the past has been directly related to the continued participation and generosity of its sponsors and participants by raising more than $1,200,000 during the life of the event. Sponsors and registrants alike will be able to receive a full refund of sponsorship and registration fees paid (plus any additional rider costs that they may have incurred). However, while organizers understand that the response to this pandemic, if not the pandemic itself, has had a financial impact on participants, they are reaching out to anybody who might consider making a donation by forgiving all, or part of, their sponsorship or registration fees paid. Doing so will allow a financial distribution of some level to be made to the beneficiaries as has been done in the past and allow the Boyne Thunder Poker Run to meet one of the three points to its mission.

If you were planning to attend Boyne Thunder, please send an email to mainstreet@boynecity.com prior to June 5 stating the directions for your refund transaction. (The need for a response deadline is that after a certain date, organizers must assign a “cancelled event” to each registrant wanting a full refund so that Boyne Thunder will not be charged transaction fees per the agreement with the contractor.) For those who make a donation, the registration site will remain as if the event occurred and transaction fees were applied as always.

Organizers said they hope that the boaters who have enjoyed Boyne City, Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan in past years can find a way to safely do so this summer.

The 2021 Boyne Thunder Poker Run will take place July 9-10. Registration will begin March 1, 2021.