The popular and generous event, the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run, which takes place in upstate New York’s picturesque little town of Clayton, is returning to action this year on July 14-16, after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has attracted a mighty big fish.

Industry powerhouse Mercury Racing of Fond du Lac, WI, will be joining the event for the first time as a Diamond Level Sponsor and will be bringing their unmistakable blue Tour Truck, merchandise booth, as well as other product displays, and will be donating an undoubtedly desirable item for the charity auction. The TICPR has raised thousands of dollars in the past for the benefactors such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York and Canada, the River Wellness Program / River Hospital, Noah’s Care Bags, and several other local charities and fire and rescue departments.

The start of the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run. Photos by Todd Taylor

Mercury Racing’s Steve Miller, who is the director of customer experience explains, “in just a few years the 1000 Island run has become one of the most talked-about events of the season. It’s a beautiful area and the water and the course give owners a chance to let these performance boats stretch their legs. At the end of the weekend, the goal is supporting these great charities and Mercury Racing is delighted to have an opportunity to support the event.”

Event president, Bobby Cantwell was overjoyed when learning of the news that the Mercury Racing Team would be sponsoring and attending their 2022 production.

“I personally yelled out loud like [professional wrestling icon] Rick Flair, ‘WOOOO’ when I heard we got their commitment,” Cantwell laughingly told Speedboat.

The 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run, presented by Team Aqua-Mania, G3 Offshore Race Team and Kimco Steel Sales, was founded in 2016 as a non-profit organization, specifically to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York, the River Community Wellness Program at River Hospital and other local non-profit benefactors, and has drawn 100-120 registered boats for previous runs. Despite the cancellation of their 2020 and 2021 events, the group still donated $17,000 in 2021 through its dedicated sponsors. Their largest charitable offering to-date was in 2019, donating over $100,000, which the group hopes to exceed this year.

There is hardly a dry-eye in the house when the generosity of speedboaters make wishes come true

“Getting involved with Make-A-Wish has made us all grateful and humble for the good fortune we have in our lives,” said Ken Lalonde, one of the several dedicated organizers of the 1000 Islands Charity Poker Run. “River Community Wellness provides mental health programs for the community, including veterans and service personnel affiliated with Fort Drum. The endorsement of the event by Mercury Racing, a leader in this performance segment, is very important to us.”

One of the many appealing things about this particular event, in addition to running past authentic fairy tale-style castles, is that it is all largely headquartered at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel, where most of participants stay and can keep their boats on the nearby, adjacent municipal docks. Local restaurants, bars, and shops are also within walking distance. As in years past, the schedule will include Thursday’s Boat Street Show on the main boulevard of Clayton, the Make-A-Wish charity rides on Friday, the Saturday poker run along the St. Lawrence River, followed by the evening’s gala banquet, charity auction and closing ceremony–– all on the grounds of the luxurious hotel.

Online registration is currently open to participants and potential sponsors here.

The 1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel is headquarters to the TICPR event

Speedboat Magazine will again be in Clayton, NY to cover the entire weekend for a multi-page feature appearing in a subsequent issue, as well as to report regularly on-location, via the collaborative video updates with Mercury Racing.

Speedboat Magazine is proud to be a media partner with the TICPR and Mercury Racing