(Wet and) Windy City
by , 08-20-2008 at 07:35 PM (16581 Views)
July 19: Unfortunately, this appeared to be a particularly bad day for the Chicago
Poker Run, as the dark storm clouds made good on their promise to unload an
ominous payload. The kids waited in the hotel lobby, even though I was sure
there would be no poker run today.
We drove to East Chicago Marina. Upon entering, we could see puddles of
water forming on the boats that were covered. The look of despair on the
faces of the many participants was palpable.
Although heavy clouds covered the skyline, the rain eventually began to subside,
so we decided to get to work. Scott Farley had towed his 44’ MTI, Spinetingler,
from Oklahoma. We spoke with some of his crew members, who were in good spirits,
given the circumstances.
We scoped out Chicago Powerboat Club director Mark Smith to get the lowdown
on the day's activities. We filmed him in the drizzle to help underscore his understandably
blue mood—which was evident in the faces of everybody in the crowd as well.
Fountain Powerboats appeared to dominate the run, and the charge was led by
Fountain’s largest dealer, Shogren Performance Marine. We were fortunate
enough to ride with Scott and Kelly Shogren in their 47’ Fountain.
Additionallly Shogren's GM, Greg Weber, had his own crew out in a 42’ Lightning with a
bright vinyl wrap.
Jeff and Jessica Zitzner gave us a thought-provoking interview about their 42’
Fountain, which they painted in their garage. They were kind enough to take Blake, Blair
and Earl on the run.
We interviewed Dan Davies in his 42’ Fountain, called Outlaw. The staggered
525SCi Mercs aren't quite fast enough for this enthusiast, who plans to upgrade into
Dan recently started the non-for-profit Ft. Myers Offshore Club. The organization
recently raised $25,000 for survivor Jennifer Molter, whose family was involved in a fatal
boating accident off Marco Island in January 2007.
Keith and Mike Merritt got factory support in their 2009 42’ Fountain with Wyatt Fountain
at the helm. The stunning new yellow/blue/orange rocket stood out with the
custom painted 850SCis.
We began our journey northbound on Lake Michigan for the 75-mile run to Michigan
City. The rain lightened up and we were able to bring out the equipment.
The 47’ Fountain provided a great platform to shoot in the rough water. However, Scott
kept the throttle wide open much of the time, making it difficult to shoot at 100 mph.
Dawnette and the kids found it exhilarating nonetheless.
Many running shots had to be edited as I caught both water and sky, but nothing in
The 43’ Nor-Tech O U Want Some ran circles around the participants while everyone was
Mike D’Ambrose was an exceptionally nice guy in his erotically painted 46’ Rough Rider
Cigarette Strip Poker, which features a curvy female lying on her back down the side of
the boat. It definitely captured people's attention.
Mark Smith and his crew in the Chi-Town Hustler looked great in his completely
refurbished 1996 39’ Ocean Express. Mark is looking to purchase a Skater in the near
After returning from Michigan City to East Chicago, we floated while waiting for the
helicopter to refuel. However, the next rain cloud was moving in fast. Scott pressed
Mark for the group to takeoff. It’s a shame we hadn't left five minutes earlier.
The only boat to run with us was Elliot Wiczer in his 2007 Fountain called Looney
Tune. The 42’ Lightning with twin 700SCi stayed with us the entire run, acting as
We took off toward the Chicago skyline. However, the rain pummeled us as the fleet
of boats ran. Some of the faster boats swang eastward to avoid the onslaught. Scott
throttled down and returned to the entrance of the marina. The girls all ran for the
shelter of the cabin while Scott and I endured the relentless rain.
The ride back to the East Chicago Marina was uneventful. Scott blasted the 47’
Fountain through the open water. We said our goodbyes and prepared for the following
day with Dean at The Art of Design (TAOD).