2007 Klamath River Poker Run & Boat Rodeo


For 2007, the Klamath was down to about 3500 CFS for the Klamath River Rats poker run & boat rodeo. The weather was just about perfect, sunny and pleasant. Some of the gravel riffles had not cut channels yet and were quite broad and shallow. When the river goes even lower, most of the thin spots will cut out to defined channels but this hadn’t happened yet in a few places so there were several “interesting” spots to run on the way to Sundberg’s beach just above Johnsons. Only one stuck I heard of, and a minor one at that but lots of gravel was plowed that day.

The Steelhead Lodge and Camper Corral were again the camping and motel spots. Nothing quite like an RV park packed with jetboats and jetboaters. Camp fires, stuff cooking, kids playing all over. Alan Ward got engaged to Tara this weekend! They were down at the mouth of the river looking for interesting rocks when Alan happened to find a nice shiny rock in his pocket for Tara. That’s a first, the poker run has been ongoing for 8 years but no one has ever gotten engaged at one before.

Sonya Sundberg had themed this years poker run as Pirates! We had plunder and booty to recover from treasure chests all along the river and even a treasure map to guide us. Several boats sported the skull and crossbone. No prisoners were taken however, as all crewmembers went along voluntarily, if a little whoozily, from Friday night.

Quite of range of boats here, everything from a 28-foot twin engine Eagle to 15-½ foot Sport Sprint. North River, Jetcraft, Boice and others were represented a well. There was a couple of retired and current race boats, a slippery uhmw slider, and lots of nice, well built hardware.

Mike and Lori Messick ran to Sundberg’s then just kept on going. Over Coon Creek they went, past Weitchpec and another 5 miles up the Trinity. That’s about a 45 mile trip one way from the boat ramp, the long way in the slider. And back too, of course. They were having a blast. We talked a little about conjuring a jetboat race on the Yuba next year, I do hope this can work out.

The carnage award for this year has to go to Doug McKellar who scattered the motor in one of his two jetskis, went home and got the other one and then totaled that one in Coon Creek. I mean totaled too, cracked hull, broken pump, shaft broke off in the motor. Totaled. Wait, the handlebars were NOT bent, so I guess it wasn’t a complete loss.  Doug managed to break his arm in two places too, although this did not stop him from winning the sprint boat class with good old Cavefish in the boat rodeo the next day. That boat, I am happy to report, escaped entirely unscathed.

Garth Sundberg & Jon Zimmerman on a fam ride.

Some of the boats at the top end.

Two Eagles, a 19 foot step-tech and a 21 foot Saber.

A really big Eagle, 28 foot twin small block, twin pump custom. (Twin Injun)

The Boat Rodeo, Sunday July 29th

Setting up the props. ( these guys are demented)

Drivers meeting before the Boat Rodeo. (You want us to do WHAT with our boats???)

It's easy!

Step 1: launch dinghy off beach

Step 2: paddle out to waiting boat & tie off dinghy to buoy

Step 3: don't forget the slush bucket.


Step 4: FILL the slush bucket from flying stream, dump in collection bucket on beach.
repeat until collection bucket is full.
use any method that you like!

This technique scored 8.8 out of a possible 10. Except for the East German judge who gave it a 4.2

JJ gets extra points for "style", and he also stuck his dismount.
Watching Dougie, I think this is how I should have tried to keep Chris's
boat steady, I sure wasn't having any luck with my "mixing pancake batter with the controls" technique.

Haydn and Uncle Jon Zimmerman. Get some Haydn!

Jeffery and Dan, first of the "exotic" technique teams.
Some talk of "cheating" was going around, but Protest Committee en toto,
Steve Zimmerman just reminded everyone that this years Rodeo
was pirate themed, therefore anything goes.

Jeff Zimmerman using is head. The front of it, anyway.
In medical terms, this would be called a "snot washer".
The East German judge scored this as a perfect 10, while the rest of the judges
scored this as only a 4.1 average.

Old guys technique. Call out signals. Steady but sure.
It's all great until the jet hits you in the nuts that is! Yow!

Chris Sackett demonstrates the "X-Games" technique.
Sort of Crusty Demons in boats.

Step 4: Tear off up river, burn around the buoy there, rip back down river and then....

Blow over the Pirate Can!

If you can't blow over the can,

blow over your first mate!

Take a sharp sight line, then clobber it.
(this is the winner of the big boats category in action by the way, Mike Johnson)

Racers are pretty good at this part for some reason

That can is about to get it from the John Deere boat!

It is very hard to knock over a can with a step-tech for some reason, might be they just turn too good.

Dougie and JJ, after having become frustrated with Doug's dads boat,
went and got Doug's dads OTHER boat.
They did much better with this one and took first in the small boat class.

Pete Rowland and "Mac & Cheese" Robertson attack the pirate can!
(I discovered the Mac & Cheese thing written on the official
timing sheet. Not sure who wrote it..)

Mac Robertson (and Cheese?) in his new boat ripping it up, second in the small boat class.

Jesse & Chris in Chris's Eagle, killed the can first shot. Racers do this part well.
If I knew how to drive a stickshift boat, we would have done a lot better.
I suck at the boat control around docks & banks part.

And here I am again, doing first mate duties with fellow
racer Steve Zimmerman. We had a good run going until....

We got stuck. Racers do this well too. Push the boat, ungghhh.

Old guys always make it look like they KNOW what they are doing and PLANNED it that way.
Yeah, I meant to do that. Yup, I did. And don't you forget it!

We had a hell of a lot of fun! This years turnout was 27 boats on Saturday, a new record.
The winning poker hand this year was a straight, beat out a King three of a kind.
The payout for the first hand was $800+ (can't remember exactly for some reason)
The poker run is 100% payout.
It is a truly fun and enjoyable weekend, lots more going on than just what you see here.
Definitely family oriented, RV-ing at Steelhead Lodge and Camper Corral, nice convivial evenings, great river running and
the skills rodeo on Sunday is just a hoot.

If you have a jetboat why not come join us next year? We have first timers every year, the river is easily runnable with any experience at all
and then there is the tried and true technique of just following someone who has run it before.