Don Bliss from Oregon is the proud owner of an MTI 340X, which he loves taking out on Poker Runs across the country. Whether he’s chatting with other MTI owners, exploring new shorelines, or simply seeing how fast he can take his MTI 340X, Bliss says he loves the camaraderie of Big Cat Poker Runs. In this article below, originally published on SpeedontheWater.com, we hear how Bliss’ MTI 340X fared at California’s Big Cat Poker Run this weekend, and how other MTI owners joined in on the party.
The usual suspects who make the Big Cat Poker Run one of the coolest events on the West Coast were on hand in Discovery Bay, Calif., once again this year. Folks like Karl Koster in his Cigarette Racing Team center console, Gary Colledge in his unique closed canopy Skater Powerboats catamaran, Ed Stewart in his MTI catamaran and the legendary Bob Teague of the event’s title sponsor, Teague Custom Marine, in his beautiful Skater catamaran.
Of course dozens of other loyal local participants—not to mention longtime organizer Glenn Hoffman, who participated in his Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats V-bottom—played a significant role in the positive atmosphere that was apparent during Thursday’s Sponsor VIP party, Friday’s lunch run and welcome party, and Saturday’s poker run and dinner/awards party that followed once participants returned to Discovery Bay Yacht Club that evening.
The familiar faces help make the poker run what it is today, but this year’s event also had a lot to do with the newcomers who had an amazing time at the event. Of the first-time attendees who had a great time and are likely to return, the Nordic Boats crew brought both an outboard-powered 28 SS sport cat and its latest 35 SS with twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines, as well as the Lake Havasu City, Ariz., company’s stunning 43-foot catamaran, and Randy and Cherell Scism of MTI made the trek from Missouri to California to show off the company’s demo 340X model powered by a pair of the all-new Mercury Racing 450R engines.
The team from Eliminator Boats also went all-in this year as the face of the new ownership group behind the iconic Southern California—Jake Fraleigh—attended the run for the first time in nearly a decade to support the dozens of Eliminator customers who made the trek to Discovery Bay. Fraleigh told me he had a great time and was impressed by the number of Eliminators in attendance.
On hand for Saturday’s festivities, I met first-time Big Cat Poker Run participant Don Bliss, who owns a gorgeous new MTI 340X catamaran. Bliss, who is from Oregon, said he enjoyed the camaraderie amongst the different boat owners as well the opportunities to really drive his 34-foot sport cat around the meandering California Delta waterways.
“You really get a chance to see how your boat turns when you come to Big Cat,” Bliss said with a laugh after rafting off at the stop in Pittsburgh Marina. “We’re having a great time. It’s cool to see so many different types of boats here.”