Massive offshore powerboats returning to Sault waterfront this summer

Apr 17, 2017 @ 09:39

Following a widely-successful poker run last year on the St. Mary’s River, high-speed powerboats are returning to Sault Ste. Marie this summer. The 2017 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run is taking place August 4 to 6. With more than 40 high-performance vessels slated to come, this year’s event will be double the size of the inaugural competition in 2016.


“Last year’s event was a great success, and we’ve very pleased to be returning to Sault Ste. Marie this summer,” said Bill Taylor, President of Power Boating Canada and Poker Runs America. “We’ve been staging these waterfront spectaculars for more than 30 years and are excited to bring some of the most exotic performance boats in North America back to Sault Ste. Marie.”


The 2017 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run will feature high-performance race boats from MTI, Cigarette, Formula, Hustler, Mystic, Nortech, Sunsation, Baja, Skater, Scarab, Fountain, Donzi and more. Vessels ranging from 35 to 50 feet will be trailered in from across the United States and Canada for a weekend of high-octane fun. With staging at the Roberta Bondar Marina, the boats will travel to Richards Landing, Hilton Beach, and Thessalon. At each stop, participants collect a card in a sealed envelope. When they return to downtown Sault Ste. Marie, the best poker hand wins.


“This is not a race, it’s a poker run,” said Taylor,” who created the sport in the 1980s during the days of the famous Miami Vice television show. “The boat with the best card hand is declared the winner. Speed has no bearing on the results – it’s all in the cards.”


For the 2017 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run, there will be opportunities for residents to engage in the excitement throughout the weekend. Activities and entertainment are planned along the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront at the Roberta Bondar Marina and Pavilion. A tentative schedule includes:


  • Friday, August 4: The public can see the high-performance boats up-close and meet the owners at the Pavilion Kickoff Party. Enjoy live music, fresh food from local vendors, and cold Northern Superior brew, the official beer of the 2017 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run.


  • Saturday, August 5: On poker run day, spectators are welcome to line up along the Sault Ste. Marie shoreline to see the boats in action and “hear the thunder and feel the rumble” as they begin their run east. Citizens in Richards Landing, Hilton Beach, and Thessalon are encouraged to welcome boats as they arrive in their community for a card stop.


  • Sunday, August 6: For a fee, citizens will be able to participate in the “Ride of a Lifetime” on the boats down the St. Mary’s River. All proceeds will support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sault Ste. Marie.


Since it formed three decades ago, Poker Runs America has been holding competitions across Canada, the United States and Caribbean. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie had a vision of bringing this event to Northern Ontario and, working with sport officials, made it a reality in 2016. The inaugural year was a success, and organizers expect the 2017 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run to be even bigger.


“This is a one-of-a-kind event for our community and surrounding area,” said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. “While attracting hundreds of visitors to the city, the CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run also provides an amazing opportunity to share and promote the beauty of our waterfront, regional marina locations, and area boating potential with a North American audience.”


For updates and details on the 2017 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run, visit the event’s Facebook page at Instagram page at Additional information is available at


About Tourism Sault Ste. Marie

Tourism Sault Ste. Marie works to draw visitors by securing major conferences, sports tournaments and special events, selling vacation packages, marketing area attractions and festivals, developing tourism infrastructure and new products, and attracting cruise ships, motor coach tours and other group excursions. Between 2010 and 2016, this activity generated more than 234,000 visitor days, $34.4 million of direct visitor spending, and million more in indirect and induced economic activity for the community. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is a division of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. For more information, Also online: