Local Woman Enjoys Boyne Thunder Poker Run for 16th Straight Year

Parades are very popular this time of year, but Saturday thousands of people gathered around a marina instead of on the sidewalk. It was the 16th year of the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Boyne City.

Organizers say the boat trip sold out once again, that means more money for local organizations.

Boyne Thunder draws boaters from across the country and Canada, but it parades right through Jane Hawkins’ back yard and she’s been coming since the beginning.

“I won’t miss today. I was here at 8:30 and like I say I’ve been watching them the last couple of days,” Hawkins said.

What she enjoys most about it…

“The noise! The adrenaline, the boats are actually gorgeous. So even though you’re older, it still excites you extremely,” she said.

Jane says the high water levels definitely had an impact on this year’s Boyne Thunder.

Once the wake from that parade gets going, those people are going to get wet.

And organizers agree…

“This year we had to do it at no-wake speeds just because of the water levels and just to try and be conscious of our environment and the shoreline and things like that,” says Boyne City Main Street executive director, Kelsie King-Duff.

But that doesn’t mean the parade didn’t live up to the hype for some first-timers.

“It was exciting. With the helicopter flying overhead and when they did kind of their low-speed parade route, it was cool to see them up close,” says Darren Miller, visiting from Aurora, Illinois.

Jane says she hopes she can catch a ride sometime, but so far no luck.

“For insurance purposes, you can’t get a ride. I’ve tried that. I had my checkbook, ‘how much?’ Jane joked.

But it’s not all about pretty boats, the money raised goes back to three local organizations.

“Last year in our 15th year we surpassed $1 million raised over the life of the event,” King-Duff said.