There has been a lot of chatter lately within the community about the Bago Big Bet, and some are still wondering what it exactly is. This article is your comprehensive guide to the inaugural Poker Run event that is happening in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on June 20-23 and could be on your must-attend list in the future.

"Bago" refers to Lake Winnebago, where the run will be held, which is a freshwater lake in north central Wisconsin and is the largest lake in the state with beautiful views and long stretches of coastline for visitors and locals alike to run and enjoy the surroundings. The event's headquarters is the Oshkosh Waterfront Hotel in downtown Oshkosh, where a block of rooms has been reserved for the participants with the code word "offshore wench."

Veteran event producer Shannon Higgins of Offshore Wench, best known for organizing the popular Four Horsemen Poker Run, also on Lake Winnebago, is heading up this brand-new Poker Run and she is bringing her years of expertise in hopes of making the Bago Big Bet one of the top events in the nation, in short order.

"This is my 18th poker run that I've executed in 13 years," said Higgins. "This is the first time that Oshkosh has done something like this, to this magnitude. I think with all of the opportunities we have for the community to come see all of what we have involved, like the boat parade, the big boats on the streets... It's a family-friendly, all ages event, so we encourage everyone to come and see what this is all about. Because this is some cool sh*t!"

This event is in the backyard of performance boating's literal powerhouse Mercury Racing, which is, in part, why they are supporting this run in their home state. They have signed on to be the title sponsor, as well as volunteering to be two of the card stop boats, as well as a chase boat. They will also have their brand-new Mercury Racing Tour Truck on-site for all to see and admire and pick the brains of the Mercury Racing staff on-hand.

"We are thrilled to be on board to support this world-class event," said Jeff Broman, Director of Mercury Racing. "This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the Oshkosh area and share our passion for high-performance boating with the community where we live and work."

Shannon is also encouraged by some of the players in the community already committed to attend.

"I've got Devin Wozencraft (of Wozencraft Insurance) coming and Stu Jones (of Florida Powerboat Club) is coming. Yvonne (Aleman) and Greg (Harris) and will be premiering their brand-new DCB at my run!, exclaimed Higgins. "It's stuff like that, to me, is extremely humbling."

With Shannon's enthusiasm, Mercury Racing's full support and the registration numbers continuing to grow, it's a "Big Bet" that this event will be here to stay.

Registration will be open for a short while longer so sign up HERE to be a part of the very first Bago Big Bet.


Thursday, June 20

12 p.m.—Casual pre-game mixer at the Sometimes Waterfront Tiki Bar, near the Pioneer Marina

2 p.m.—Downtown Oshkosh Boat Parade (staging)

4 p.m. to 6 p.m.—Downtown Oshkosh Boat Parade Commencement

6:00 p.m.—VIP Waterfest "Concert by the River" featuring Los Lonely Boys, Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express and Newski

Friday, June 21    

11 a.m.—Lunch Run to the Fond du Lac Yacht Club for Card Stop 1 with live music, games and camaraderie

6 p.m.—Kick-off Party at Fratello's Waterfront Taproom featuring the event's own craft brew, "BET" Summer Ale

Saturday, June 22 

9 a.m.—Mandatory Captain's Meeting in the Oshkosh Waterfront Hotel Convention Center

11 a.m.—Start Your Engines! The start of the Inaugural Bago Big Bet Poker Run, with takeoff point at the Pioneer Marina Card Stop 2: Little Lake Butte des Mortes at "The Silos"; Card Stop 3: Fond du Lac; Card Stop 4: Stockbridge (lunch stop at Harbor Bar); Card Stop 5: "Streich's" Sandbar; Return to the docks

6 p.m.—White Party! Dinner, reception, live charity auction, raffles, awards and bowling at historic landmark, the Howard. (Transportation                                                                    to/from the hotel will be available)

Sunday, June 23 

10:30 a.m.—Farewell Brunch at Fratello's Waterfront Taproom

Lake Winnebago image courtesy of City Lifestyle.