Spectator Information 2023

2023 Route

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Spectator schedule of events

Boyne Thunder Bits

  • Boyne Thunder is a power boat event that began in 2004 to raise funds for three beneficiaries: Camp Quality, Challenge Mountain and BC Main Street. Since the inception, over $1,050,000 has been raised.


  • The boats range in size from 22 to 55 feet in length with horsepower ranging from 425 to 3600. Some boats are capable of speeds over 150 mph.


  • Boyne Thunder is a poker run, not a race. This means the winner is decided by the best poker hand collected along a specified route, and not who is first to complete the course. Participants will pick up one sealed envelope containing a playing card at each of five different stops along the route.


  • The course is approximately 150 miles long, traversing both Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan.


  • The fleet will leave the Boyne City Marina at approximately 10:00 am and begin the parade laps around 10:15 The boats will form four distinct groups according to their cruising speed and boat length.  Each group will pass in front of the marina following their group’s pace boat before heading west to Charlevoix.


  • 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 around noon. At approximately 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 docks in Harbor Springs. The boats will pick up their fifth card in Horton Bay before turning in their cards in Boyne City.


  • The poker hands are revealed after a participant dinner and auction Saturday evening in the Poker Run Village located near the Boyne City


  • The prizes for the best poker hand are: 1st place, $5,000; 2nd place, $3,000; 3rd place, $1,500. There is a $500 prize for the last place hand as well.


  • The helicopter flying over all parts of the event is there to assist in taking photographs as well as a video recording. Follow us on social media for updates.


  • Those watching Boyne Thunder from out on the water may notice boats and sea-doos along the course flying orange flags.  These are official Boyne Thunder Marshall watercrafts and are there to keep the area clear of non-participant boat traffic along the course, for everyone’s safety, as well as offer assistance to participants with mechanical issues.


  • While the majority of the participants come from the Great Lakes region, this event has drawn participants from as far away as Florida, California, Washington and Canada!

2023 Boyne Thunder Merchandise will be sold on Friday from 9am – 5pm and Saturday from 9am – noon 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.

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