Ok kids. We’ve covered the Kickoff Party. We’ve covered the Street Party. But now its time for the meat and potatoes – the reason most of us come out to Desert Storm. No, its not the excessive drinking. Its the Boats!


Friday was the 2019 Desert Storm Poker Run and it was a huge showing. Some of the best boat hardware in the country descended on Lake Havasu, and the spectators were out in force. The rumor was 180 registered boats, and from the air I could believe it. As you may have noticed, the parade through the channel was moved to an hour later for a start time of 11am. However, it didn’t start until even later than that, much to the dismay of the helicopters hovering overhead, mine included. Let me tell you, rotor time on a turbine jet helicopter isn’t cheap.


None the less, when boats finally started flowing through the channel there was plenty of eye candy. From Craig and Kim Hargreaves Spooled up MTI and DCB, to Dave and Buffy “Magoo’s” new DCB M44, “Bananas XL”, to Rick Bowlings famous “Gone Again” Talon, the Lamborghini MTI, Skater’s, Outerlimits, Nor-Techs, and on and on, the show didn’t disappoint. From the air, the palette of amazing colors was a visual feast.


The start of the run was a little scattered. In previous years the flag boat has run the first group of boats as a tight pack at a minimum speed around the island until the confluence of Thompson Bay. But this year, the group ran through in almost a single file line up, making the start a little less dramatic.


Of course, once the pack got past Pilot Rock, it was bye-bye big boats. We chased the leaders for a while, but even in Bell Jet Ranger Helicopter, we couldn’t keep up. They were on the throttles, and all we could do from there was circle back and shoot Group B. We chased the rest of the poker runners up and down the south end of the lake for another hour or so, and then headed back to the Nautical to land.


We had circled the RDP houseboat a few times in the chopper and the place was jumpin’, so I couldn’t wait to get there and have a few cold ones. Thankfully, RDP member “Forklift Chris” was waiting for me in his boat, and he and his wife Kristlynme ran down to the RDP Houseboat party going on at 3 dunes (thanks for the ride, Chris!). As we arrived, the houseboat was just pulling out of the cove, so I jumped on board and enjoyed the slow cruise back. The houseboat was still full of a lot of fun RDP members so I had a great time catching up with peeps I hadn’t seen since last years Desert Storm. Of course, Dave kept handing me beers, so needless to say the rest of the day was a blur.


Later that night, the after party was held at Kokomo’s where they had the Storm Poker Runs apparel booths setup, as well as a buffet dinner for participants. I didn’t stay too long, because frankly, the heat that day kicked my ass, and I had to be up early for the shootout the next day.


All in all it was another great day. Check back tomorrow for the recap of the shootout.

Erick Bryner