Traverse City Offshore Poker Run Raises Thousands for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Thousands of dollars raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters while putting big smiles on kids’ faces while they sped through West Grand Traverse Bay.

On Saturday, the Offshore Powerboat Association held the first Traverse City Poker Run on the Bay for a good cause.

On Sunday, they got to see how much the money raised helps thousands of kids.

“About a year and a half ago we were contacted by the Offshore Classic group saying that they were thinking about organizing this poker run event and they would love, instead of asking participants to write a check for registration, they’d like to donate the money to a worthy cause,” said executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan Cecilia Chesney.

And what better cause than Big Brothers Big Sisters?

The event ran all weekend with a special ending on Sunday.

“It’s really the most fun part of the entire weekend,” said Bill Reiffer.

“It’s our way of giving back but it’s such a joy, it’s our pleasure,” said Monica Reiffer. “We get the pleasure from the rides.”

The owners of the boats took bigs and littles on a ride across the Bay.

“We had an awesome time,” said big brother Kelvin Shaw. “We hit at about 90 miles an hour, we had six or seven of us going side by side, it was incredible, we had a great time.”

“I loved the speed, I loved how fast it was going, I would do it again,” said little brother Tajh Rousseau.

“It’s really special to see the big smiles,” said Monica. “When we were out riding today, we had several boats side by side with us and you could see the rooster tails and the kids were so thrilled with seeing that.”

Raising over $25,000 and making these relationships possible for even more kids.

“It’s never not a fun time when I’m with my big,” said Tajh.

“It means the world because the smiles on their faces, I mean these kids most of them will never see a boat like this let alone have a ride in a boat like this, and then the generosity of all the people driving and they were so happy to be a part of it and do it it’s amazing,” said Cecilia.