The Sault Ste. Marie waterfront will be bustling with activity this summer when crews of high-speed, high-horsepower, high-price-tag powerboats battle it out in the 2016 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run. Taking place August 5 to 7, the event will see 800 to 3,200-horsepower offshore-style, v-bottom and catamaran race boats from around the world compete in a game of chance. More than 20 high-performance beauties from MTI, Cigarette, Formula, Hustler, Mystic, Nortech, Sunsation, Baja, Skater, Scarab, Fountain, Donzi and more will be trailered in from across the United States and Canada for a weekend of high-octane fun. Staging at the Roberta Bondar Marina, vessels ranging from 35 to 50 feet in length will travel to Richards Landing, Hilton Beach, Thessalon and Drummond Island. At each location, participants collect a card in a sealed envelope. When they return to the Sault’s downtown, the best poker hand wins. “Power Boating Canada and Poker Runs America have been staging these waterfront spectaculars for more than 30 years, and we are very excited to bring some of the most exotic performance boats in North America to Sault Ste. Marie,” said Bill Taylor, President of Power Boating Canada and Poker Runs America. “This is not a race, it’s a poker run, and the boat with the best card hand is declared the winner. Speed has no bearing on the results – it’s all in the cards.” Taylor created the boating Poker Run sport during the days of the famous Miami Vice television show. He has since been at the forefront of performance boating events throughout North America as the originator of the American Poker Run Association. For the 2016 CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run, there will be opportunities for community residents to engage in the excitement throughout the weekend. Activities and entertainment are planned along the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront at the Roberta Bondar Marina and Pavilion. A tentative schedule includes: Friday, August 5: The public will have an opportunity to see the high-performance boats up-close and meet the owners and crew. Saturday, August 6: On Poker Run day, spectators are welcome to line up along the Sault Ste. Marie shoreline to see the boats in action and “hear the thunder and feel the rumble” as they begin their run east. Citizens in Richards Landing, Hilton Beach, Thessalon and Drummond Island are encouraged to welcome boats as they arrive in their community for a card stop. Sunday, August 7: For a fee, citizens will be able to participate in the “Ride of a Lifetime” on the boats down the St. Mary’s River. All proceeds will stay local to support charity. Since it formed three decades ago, Poker Runs America has been holding events across Canada, the United States and Caribbean. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie caught wind of the opportunity through the success of the Kingston 1000 Islands Poker Run and, for the past year, has been working with Poker Runs America to have the event come to Northern Ontario. “This event is a perfect fit for our city,” said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. “Not only does it give us a chance to show off our beautiful waterfront, but also the North Channel of Lake Huron, which is regarded as one of the greatest boating destinations in North America. Our team is making a concerted effort to secure unique events like this for the community, and we’ve seen a number of successes in recent years. We thank the City of Sault Ste. Marie and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation for their support in securing the 2016 CAN/AM President’s Cup Poker Run. Our goal is to develop this into an annual event for our community.” The 2016 President’s Cup VIP Poker Run is expected to attract hundreds of international participants and spectators. Along with the benefits that will come from visitor spending, the Poker Run will also generate multiple promotional opportunities for the community. Helicopter aerial footage will be used to produce an event video that will complement marketing spreads in Power Boating Canada, Poker Runs America, Les Plaisanciers and RV Lifestyle magazines. As such, the beauty of Sault Ste. Marie’s waterfront, regional marina locations and area boating opportunities will be advertised across North America. For more information, visit www.pokerrunsamerica.com. About Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Tourism Sault Ste. Marie works to draw visitors by securing major conferences, sports tournaments and special events, selling vacation packages, marketing area attractions and festivals, developing tourism infrastructure and new products, and attracting cruise ships, motor coach tours and other group excursions. Between 2010 and 2015, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie activity generated 197,231 visitor days, $28.8 million of direct visitor spending, and million more in indirect and induced economic activity for the community. For more information, visit www.saulttourism.com. Also online: www.sault-canada.com.