Kim Smith & Tina Williams

Midlothian, Texas

Spending his life building drag race cars, Kim Smith has always had an appreciation for speed whether it’s on the track or on the water.

Smith and his girlfriend, Tina Williams, are fixtures at poker runs in the Midwest with their latest boat G-Force, a 438 Skater with twin Mercury Racing Dual Cal 1350/1550 sterndrives. 

“Being a hot rodder, I decided to buy me a performance boat,” said Smith, who founded the drag-racing parts company Smith Racecraft in 1982. “A friend introduced us to poker runs (in 2017) and we’ve been doing them ever since.”

Smith and Williams average five poker runs a year and are regulars at the Tickfaw 200, Texas Outlaw Challenge and the Texoma Throwdown as well as the Key West Poker Run. For Smith, it’s an opportunity to run with the big catamarans, while Williams appreciates the poker run scene.

“The poker runs give us a chance to see friends because it’s usually the only time we see them,” Williams said.

Smith, 68, has owned several catamarans but it wasn’t until they bought the 40-foot Skater Lickety Split that they started doing poker runs. They moved to a 46 Skater and then owned a Nor-Tech center console. Asked why he went back to a catamaran, Smith joked, “The throttles wouldn’t go far enough forward on the center console.”

Before buying his current 438 Skater, Smith was reluctant to go with the Mercury Racing power because he likes to work on his own engines.

“I’m a racecar guy, I mess with motors every day. I stayed away from the Mercury (Racing) motors because I felt like my hands were tied, so I stayed with the conventional blower, carbureted motors,” Smith said. “I kept talking to people and they kept telling me how nice these motors were. I bought G-Force and I said, ‘I will never go back to a roots blower.’ That thing is a Cadillac.” 

Smith recently bought a 71-foot sportfish boat and says his days of owning a catamaran could be numbered. He recently rejected an offer to sell the Skater, but he hasn’t decided what direction to go.

“I don’t want to, but I do all my own maintenance and everything,” said Smith, who lives in Midlothian, Texas. “Between the Skater and that big sportfish, it can really wear a man out.”

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