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Credit: Tommy Gun ImagesCredit: Tommy Gun Images

More than 100 registered boats and 90 generous sponsors helped make the 2023 1000 Island International Charity Poker Run a huge success, according to event treasurer Renee Lalonde. The annual event, held July 13-15 in Clayton, N.Y., featured fabulous boating on the Saint Lawrence River between New York and Ontario. While accounting for the event is still underway, Lalonde reports that the live auction on Saturday evening raised $175,000 and a record number of event sponsors, which include Mercury Racing, contributed more than $200,000 to the event. All proceeds go to charities including Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York, the River Community Wellness Program at River Hospital, and other local organizations.

A team from Mercury Racing attended the event and participated in the poker run aboard the company MTI 39X powered by twin Mercury Racing 500R outboards, and featuring the Mercury Racing 50th Anniversary graphic wrap.

“Mercury Racing considers the 1000 Islands Charity Poker Run to be one of the premier events on the performance boat calendar,” said Steve Miller, Mercury Racing director of customer service. “It’s a great organization with an outstanding mission, and the location is one every boater should try to visit. We were delighted to sponsor and attend the event.”

Founded in 2016, the event is based at the Harbor Hotel in Clayton, directly adjacent to the municipal docks. The schedule includes a boat street show on Thursday, Make-A-Wish rides on Friday, and the poker run on Saturday, followed by a gala banquet on Saturday evening. The poker run course on the scenic Saint Lawrence River is about 150 miles, with four card stops.

“On Friday some of our expert captains provided rides to 26 Make-A-Wish families,” said Lalonde. “It is a great way to show these families what it feels like to ride in a performance boat. We have a Make-A-Wish reveal at the Saturday banquet, and this year 15-year-old Broder Staab had his wish to go fishing come true when he received a new G3 jon boat loaded with fishing gear.”

Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. It has the power to make a child feel stronger, more in control and determined to fight through the medical journey ahead. Many families and healthcare providers believe the wish experience is the turning point in a wish kid’s battle against their illness.

River Community Wellness Program at River Hospital provides Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment to active duty military members and veterans in programs drawing on the strength created when a group of like-minded individuals join together in the healing process. The program keeps our military members and Veterans close to home while they are healing and learning to cope.

Event Presenting Sponsors were G3 Racing, Aqua-Mania, and Kimco Steel Sales. Diamond sponsors were Mercury Racing, Donzi Marine, and Stax Performance Marine. See 1000islandrun for a complete sponsor list.

The 2024 1000 Island International Charity Poker Run is scheduled for July 18-20.

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