BOYNE CITY Upward of 120 boats are ready to cruise around Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan this coming weekend all while having fun and raising money for area organizations.

The annual Boyne Thunder returns this weekend with over 100 high performance boats hitting the water for the annual poker run that raises money for both Camp Quality and Challenge Mountain local charities, supporting children with cancer and people with disabilities.

"This year we have a great lineup and number of boats participating in the event," said Boyne Thunder coordinator Ingrid Day.

"This is a poker run meaning that these boats stop at five different card stops in Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. There is an entry fee and we have sponsors too but all of the money we raise between that and an auction we have goes back into our community and these organizations," she said.

The event takes place on Friday and Saturday, July 8-9 and will see these boats cruising at speeds over 100 miles an hour providing an exciting event on the water.

Day explained that many of the boats will start arriving in town Wednesday or Thursday of this week and that some will participate in Stroll the Streets from 6-9:30 p.m. on Friday as well.

People look at different boats that will partake in Boyne Thunder during Stroll the Streets in Boyne City.
"We will have a few of the boats out for spectators and will have portions of Lake and Water Streets in downtown Boyne City blocked off or people to see the boats up close," she said.

"It's always so cool to see them on the big rigs and up close and personal like that."

The actual Boyne Thunder poker run kicks off Saturday morning with boats parading around Lake Charlevoix for on-shore viewing at about 10:15 a.m. The boats broken up into four groups based on speed will do their few rounds around the lake before heading to Charlevoix and out into Lake Michigan for the rest of the poker run.

The entirety of the event sees these boats leaving Boyne, heading out into Lake Michigan through the channel in Charlevoix, down to Elk Rapids and North Port before arriving back in the area in time for lunch.

"Lake Charlevoix has a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour but Lake Michigan is unlimited and some of these boats travel faster than 100 miles and hour and will do this run in little to no time," said Day.

"It's really something to see but also to note that these guys, while they're doing it for fun and pleasure, it is a real sport and requires a lot of skill to be able to handle a boat like this," she said.

The mission of the event is to of course provide some excitement and entertainment for those both on the water and on land. Spectators hoping to view the boats will have their best chance either in Boyne City as the boats take off or along the channel in Charlevoix before they all take off for the day.

However, the event's committee also follows through on the further mission in raising money for local charities and, since the event's inception in 2004, it has raised over $1 million and counting.

"These organizations do so much for our local communities and we've always felt this was our way of giving back and saying thank you," said Day.

More information about Boyne Thunder, Boyne City Main Street events, or donating to Camp Quality or Challenge Mountain can be found by contacting or or by visiting