The west coast’s premier offshore powerboat club, SCOPE, along with it’s title sponsors, Nordic Boats and IMCO Marine, decided to mark the twentieth anniversary of their organization by bringing their annual poker run back to Long Beach. SCOPE has hosted their poker run in San Diego for the past two years. The Queen Mary and Long Beach served as backdrops to this year’s run which was hosted dockside at Hotel Maya and included stops in Newport Beach, Catalina Island, and Los Alamitos Bay. The run included 40+ boats and over 100 attendees.
SCOPE members took to the water starting on Friday, September 23rd to give rides to over 40 active military and veterans from Long Beach Harbor to the USS Iowa in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Once all the boats arrived at the USS Iowa, they passed the historic military vessel in a single file, pointed their bows towards the ship and turned off their engines. The USS Iowa PA system came to life with the operators of the floating military museum thanking the boaters for offering rides to the veterans and for honoring their country.
On Saturday morning, drivers and participants attended a pre-run safety meeting and stood to honor the American Flag while John Wayne’s America, Why I Love Her played over the loudspeakers. Once the meeting finished, participants made their way to the boats, pushed off the docks, and followed the IMCO Marine 39’ Nordic out towards the Queen Mary for a group photo to be taken by helicopter.
Like anxious kids posing for a family photo, as soon as they exited the breakwater, the drivers pointed their boats towards Balboa Pier in Newport Beach and mashed the throttles. Following the stop at Balboa Pier, drivers headed for Avalon, many stopped for a quick lunch on shore and then headed back to Los Alamitos Bay for the final card stop. After returning to Hotel Maya, the group gathered for drinks, dinner, and dancing on the waterfront. Music was provided by 80’s cover band One Hot Mess. As is tradition at most SCOPE events, longtime member Ray Lee sang his best rendition of Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds.
For the past three years, SCOPE’s event has supported Operation Gratitude, a charity that is dedicated to providing care packages to active military members and their families. Chris Grayson, an active and longtime member of SCOPE won the Poker Run prize for best poker hand and selflessly donated his winnings to Operation Gratitude. During the dinner portion of the evening, SCOPE President Bill Steiner, SCOPE Board Member, Wayne Lee, and other members were able to raise more than $10,000 for the charity.
When asked about the difficulty of putting together such a large event, Bill Steiner said, “It’s a lot of work, but SCOPE has some diehard members and sponsors who always step up to the plate to make this all possible. I want to especially thank Randy Davis of Nordic Boats and Fred Inman of IMCO Marine for always supporting our club and the powerboating community.”