2021 Route

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Boyne Thunder Bits

  1. The 2021 Boyne Thunder Poker Run will be the 18th annual! Boyne Thunder is a BC Main Street event that began in 2004 to raise funds for three beneficiaries: BC Main Street, Camp Quality & Challenge Mountain.


  1. The Boyne Thunder Poker Run has raised more than $1.1 million since its beginning.


  1. Boyne Thunder is a poker run, not a race. The winner is decided by the best poker hand and not who is first to complete the course or turn in their card hands.


  1. Participants will pick up one sealed envelope containing a playing card at 5 different stops along the course which is approximately 150 miles long, traversing both Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan.


  1. The fleet will leave the Boyne City marina at approximately 10:00 am to start the parade lap at 10:15. The boats will form four distinct groups according to their chosen cruising speed and boat length with the slower/smaller boats in the first group and increasing in size/speed to the fastest/largest boats in group four.  Each group will pass in front of the marina following their group’s pace boat before heading west to Charlevoix.


  1. The fleet will pass through Charlevoix at approximately 10:30am before heading to the first card stop near the marina in Elk Rapids. The second card stop is near the marina in Northport and then the boats go back to Charlevoix for lunch, arriving at the marina in Round Lake beginning around noon. At about 1:35 pm the fleet will leave Charlevoix and head to the third card stop in Bay Harbor and then on to the fourth card stop at the city docks in Harbor Springs. The boats will pick up their fifth card in Horton Bay before turning in their cards back in Boyne City.


  1. The poker hands are revealed after a dinner and auction on Saturday night in the Poker Run Village located near the Boyne City marina and the winners are determined.


  1. The prizes for the best poker hand are as follows: 1st place, $5,000; 2nd place, $3,000; 3rd place, $1,500.


  1. The helicopter that can be seen is provided by the event to take both still photographs of boats on the course as well as a video recording that once edited, is made available on social media.


  1. Those watching Boyne Thunder from out on the water may notice boats along the course flying orange flags.  These are official Boyne Thunder Marshall boats and they are there to keep boat traffic clear along the course for everyone’s safety as well as offer assistance to participants with mechanical issues.


  1. The boats range in size from 22 feet to 53 feet with horsepower ranging from 425 hp. to 3,600 + HP and are capable of speeds above 150 mph.


  1. While the majority of the participants comes from the Great Lakes Region, this year’s event has drawn participants from as far away as Florida, California, and Washington.

2021 Boyne Thunder Merchandise will be sold on Friday from 10am – 6pm and Saturday from 8am – 2pm in the Poker Run Village next to the Boyne City Marina Office and also in Charlevoix on Saturday from 10am – 2pm on Bridge Street near the tent in Bridge Park.

Schedule of Events for Spectators

Check back soon for a full schedule of events! 

Recommended Viewing Locations

 In Boyne City

Grant Moore Municipal Marina

the Open Space across from Family Fare

Sunset Park behind the Chamber of Commerce

Peninsula Beach

Tannery Park

Young State Park

 In Charlevoix

the walkways along the Pine River Channel

Bridge Park

South Pier Lighthouse & Michigan Beach Park

the Observation Platform above the CVX Marina

Beach by Mt McSauba (off of Pleasant St)

In Elk Rapids

Elk Rapids Public Marina

 In Petoskey

East Park on US31 south of Petoskey

In Harbor Springs

in the Marina area