Both spectator numbers and entry numbers were impressively higher for the 2nd Annual Sault Ste. Marie Can-Am Poker Run during its stop in Hilton Beach Saturday.
In 2016, a helicopter followed the high powered speed boats an indicator the boats were approaching. This year, there was no helicopter but the roar of jet engines coming from, My Way.
Viewing space was at a premium along the boardwalk in Richards Landing and either side of the Bernt Gilbertson St. Joseph Island Bridge showing the increased interest over last year which drew spectators by the hundreds for its inaugural event. Increased traffic was also experienced in Hilton Beach with vehicular traffic lining connecting roads to the marina.
The power boats arrived in Hilton Beach led by the 224 mile-per-hour speed boat, My Way, about one hour earlier than expected catching many who wanted to see the big boats arrive off guard.
Within a short period of time, the quiet little hamlet of Hilton Beach was bustling with spectators checking out the various boats from bow to stern and talking to the skippers and/or crew members.
Entertainment was provided during the stop by Flathead Ford and the 1950s and 1960s rock and roll could be heard from the marina building to the fishing pier.
Following the nearly two-hour stop, skippers were instructed to start their engines and proceed out into the channel where the next leg of the run begun.
A special moment for one young lad who gave Old School II two thumbs up as the boat left its slip and the skipper responded with a friendly wave.
There was no doubt when My Way turned on its engine. The smell of aircraft fuel and a haze could be seen over the speed boat as it left the marina basin.
Fireworks signalled the driver to get into position and, "go fast", as one young spectator to be heard saying prior to the roar of the engines and within minutes were out of sight traveling eastward to Thessalon and next stop.
About 25 minutes after My Way left Hilton Beach it had returned and was seen traveling under the bridge bound for Sault Ste. Marie.