Over the past nine years, the Four Horsemen poker run has grown into one of the most popular runs in the northern United States.
“I started in 2009 with 18 boats,” says Shannon Radtke, coordinator of the Four Horsemen Poker Run “and last year, I ran 78 boats.”
The poker run is well on its way to eclipsing that number for this year, as this run continues to grow.
“We’re on track for 90 boats this year,” explains Radtke. “We’ve got about 60 right now so we’re about 2/3rds full.”
The message from Radtke is clear; if you want to attend the 9th running of the Four Horsemen, be sure to register quickly.
If you’re looking to secure a spot, the best place to do so is the annual “Warm your Engines” party at the Dockside Tavern in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
“I get a lot of registrations at the event,” says Radtke. “After this year’s party, the event will most likely be full.”
Now in its fourth year, the “Warm Your Engines” kickoff party is open to the public and all boaters. You can expect to see a live band and have some fantastic drink specials as well.
“It’s a great place for boaters, poker runners, and sponsors to talk on a smaller scale without the fanfare of the poker run weekend,” says Radtke.
There are some big boats already signed up for the Oshkosh run, including the Lamborghini inspired 52’ MTI, Super Veloce, and the one of a kind Outerlimits SV43 Caliente.
However, this isn’t just a run for the big boats, Radtke says the Four Horsemen will have a good variety of boats this year.
“I’ve got a little bit of everything coming,” she says. “I’ve even got a 24’ Air Nautique coming who runs in the 60mph range.”
With this extreme variation in the field, the poker run will have a staggered start, where speed classes will start together. This will immensely improve safety on this body of water where space sometimes is at a premium, explains Radtke.
With the extreme growth in the number of participants, the event itself has grown too. The 2018 Horsemen run has been expanded to include an optional tie-up at Streich’s Sand Bar on Thursday, June 7th from 6-8p.m.
Also new for this year is the street display on Friday. Participants will have a chance to showcase their boat and rigs on the ground of the host site. The area will be open to the public, giving fans a chance to see the boats up close and personal.
The run will operate differently than in other years as well. In years past, runners have selected their card hand in a blind draw from Radtke after the run. This year, however, runners will pick up cards along the way.
What sets the Four Horsemen apart from other runs? According to Radtke, it’s the level of organization and planning that goes into the run.
“One thing I hear year after year is how well organized everything is,” she says. “Everybody knows what’s going on when they show up and nothing is left to question.”
The event has attracted some big names this year, as Speed on the Water will be present, Pete Boden will be shooting the event and Poker Runs America will also be in attendance.
It seems the sky is the limit for this run, although Radtke admits that this year will push her close to the physical limitations of the waterways.
“100 boats is my limit,” she explains, citing the safety concerns regarding docking space and safety on the waterway.
As always, the Horsemen run will donate proceeds to a local charity, which will be announced shortly.