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After a fun night at registration I woke up to a chilly but sunny morning! I had all my batteries and cameras packed and ready to go see my Four Horsemen family. My friend Casey offered to be the photo boat this year allowing me to stop and shoot rather than trying to shoot a 100 mph boat while going 70 mph in the back seat. I packed up some drinks and went to the breakfast meeting. The breakfast was set up in to-go containers to keep people safe with the given circumstances. Dockside Tavern did a great job: Eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles and they all were good. My wife Shannon started the meeting with a moment of silent for Jon Bahr by lighting a candle next to the flowers and memorial set up for him. He was the chopper pilot we tragically lost 3 years ago. There is also a memoriam logo on all the Horsemen t-shirts for Jon. The meeting highlighted safety and the route that would be taken this year. The course started with a flag drop just west of the 41 bridge, heading to the west side of Lake Poygan, back to Waverly Beach, Harbor Bar, and a short run to Striechs. We jumped in the boat and did a few drive bys, getting some nice photos of the boats getting ready to go. We headed the river and stopped just before Fratello's in the slow no wake and grabbed some nice photos. We did wait a little too long - by the time we got to the bridge the flag had dropped and all we could see were rooster tails flying. We went out to the first corner of the bend on Lake Butte des Mortes and decided to wait for the big boys to come back through. We didn't have to wait too long; in about 25 min Vinnie and Matt came roaring back through. It is always so fun to see boats of this caliber running wide open. We hung out for a little while here for what we thought was about 80% of the group to come through. Our spot wasn't really that good we were a little too far out from the action. We headed back up the river and got ready to run over to Harbor Bar hoping to get ahead of the lead boats by skipping Waverly Beach. We were wrong on that! By the time we got up the river and to the train bridge I text my little lady and asked where she was. She was just tying up and Harbor Bar. Well damn! I told Casey it's time to punch it and get over to Harbor. The 27ft Sunsation did a pretty good job. We cut across Lake Winnebago with about a 2' chop. By the time we got across the lake it felt like I was spanked about 50 times. But we sure had fun. We finally rolled into the Calumet County Marina. What a site! All these beautiful boats and people all over the place. The community support and onlookers this year was impressive. Everywhere we went on the run people were out and watching. It was very nice to see. At the marina there were people out on blankets on both sides of the hill; everyone from kids to the elderly having fun and enjoying the event. We got tied up and went up on the hill to get some photos, then we headed up to Harbor Bar for the Horsemen lunch. They had a nice spread of coconut shrimp, mushrooms, chicken wings, and crab rangoons. Everyone seemed happy and Harbor Bar did a good job of keeping up with the crowd of people. We ate quickly and got back to the boat to get some more photos. We got out early but still not first out as we had a couple boats tied up to the Sunsation, so we missed a few of the big boys again. Once we got out on the water, we planted our butts in a central location and waited for the boats to come out. We got some nice shots in this spot. We decided again to take off to Streich's. First 1/2 mile was not bad, then we got into about 3' waves and again got our asses spanked and decided we should just head back. We took a peek at Striech's and no one was there anyway with the number of waves we had. Casey and I were both happy to see the train bridge and our butt whipping to be over. Going up the river we ran into Jason rocking out with a group of guys on a tritoon heading to Streich's. Jason is our friend who makes this event happen. He is also the proud owner of the Legendary boat Gold Digger. Unfortunately, they had a prop issue on Butte des Mortes and had to bring it back in. It was heartbreaking for me to see as they have done a ton of work on this beautiful boat and it shows. It really is an impressive boat to see running across the water. I give Jason a ton of credit. He didn't let it the prop get him or his friends down. He got the boat back and turned right around, grabbed a pontoon, put his crew on and headed back out to enjoy the day. Talking to him later he said it was not a big deal and the boat was fine. I have to admit I was very happy to hear that news. Jason has had some bad luck during this event but always keeps his chin up and gets ready for the next one. I got to go around and get some shots of everyone talking about the day and how things went for them. This is where the event shines! All these people from all over and all different sizes of boats having a blast talking about what happened during the day, making new friends and enjoying old ones as well. The card draw was held under Vinnie Diorio's amazing race boat trailer. Additional hands were available to buy to help support the Christine Ann Center charity. This great crew of boaters did not disappoint. They bought a ton of additional hands. After the card draw was under wraps the Rising Phoenix Band hit the stage and the party kicked into gear. About 9p the winners with the best hand were announced. This year's winners got a big check and some amazing Horsemen trophies. The first and second place winners donated the winning back to the Christine Ann Center. That's $5000 for the charity alone! How can you not be proud to be part of this event and the amazing people that come to attend as well as make it happen? I hope you enjoy the photos! Put this event on your list of must attend or at least stop in to see. Thank you, Four Horsemen Family! See all the over 1300 photos on our PHOTO GALLERY.
2020 Lake Winnebago Four Horsemen Poker Run - Full Gallery