Marine Industry Events Postponed, Canceled Because of COVID-19

Several high-profile boating events have been cancelled and many summertime events are in jeopardy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoters are moving forward with planning but know that continued restrictions on mass gatherings could mean better luck in 2021.

The Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, set for this weekend (April 22-26) and the Tickfaw 200 near New Orleans, La., that was planned for April 29-May 2 have been cancelled because of pandemic.

Offshore racing has already had some cancellations with organizers of Thunder on Cocoa Beach postponing their event until August 27-30. Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) also announced that its Solomons Island Grand Prix won’t take in August and is looking to possibly stage the event in August.

OPA’s opener may now be the Lake Race in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks slated for late May. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson extended his stay home order through May 3. Organizers will announce a decision on May 4 whether the race can move forward.

The H1 Unlimited tour saw race sites in Guntersville, Alabama, (June 26-27) and Madison, Indiana (July 1-4). Grand Prix America is facing similar race site cancellations.

Promoters of regional poker runs and boat-racing events are in a predicament because local and state authorities will ultimately make the call on issuing permits for an event. There is some optimism that some states could ease restrictions that would allow for events.

A few events and poker runs moved their dates to later in the year, provided some normalcy returns to country. One of the West Coast’s largest poker runs, Desert Storm, postponed its event to September 30-October 4.

A promoter, who asked not to be identified because they are currently in contract negotiations with the host city, is hopeful their late summer event will continue as planned but is making contingency plans to cancel until 2021.

“No one has a crystal ball on where things are going to be this summer. Will the country be open? Who knows,” the promoter said. “If the Summer Olympics can be cancelled, I’m smart enough to know my race might be too.”

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