Lake Cumberland Thunder Run Sees 60-Boat Turnout Despite Debris Concerns

Lake Cumberland Thunder Run Sees 60-Boat Turnout Despite Debris Concerns

The social media chatter about water conditions for last weekend’s 16th annual Lake Cumberland Thunder Run in Kentucky began several weeks before—and accelerated immediately after—the eighth annual Kuttawa Cannonball Run in the same Southern commonwealth. That’s because the Kuttawa event saw Saturday’s main event canceled because of weather, and more than a few boats owners had kept their boats on their trailers on Friday as well.

Cigarette Kentucky dealer owners Paul Michael Ison and Tiffany Crawford ran their 42 Auroris center console in the event. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

The concern for would-be participants in boat events, of course, was rain-driven, boat-damaging debris in the water. That was something Thunder Run organizers Justin Lucas and Dan Weiss were keenly aware of before the boats began arriving at State Dock in Sommerset last Friday.

There was good news and not-so-good news for the 60 powerboat owners and their guests who showed up to the Lake Cumberland. On the debris front, the water proved to be a mixed bag meaning not as bad as it can be, but not great.

But by several accounts the weather was flawless.

The was no shortage of laughs this weekend for Skater 368 owner Justin Beischel, his wife, Julie, and a friend last weekend during the Thunder Run.

“The water going to the lunch stop at Conley Bottom Resort was pretty bad,” said Lucas. “I think about half the boats kept going and the other boats turned around.

“But the water going toward the dam and the 76 falls was clear,” he continued. “So all in all, I think it went as well as can be expected. As I said in the Saturday drivers meeting, one guy’s opinion of ‘good’ might not be the same as another’s.”

Justin Beischel of Cincinnati owns a Skater 368 catamaran called Short Circuit and has participated in the event 15 of the 16 time it’s been produced, Beischel took a philosophical—albeit careful—approach to the water conditions.

“There are hazards to navigate on any waterway,” he said. “The fun of the event is to see all of the awesome boats and be with people who all enjoy the same kind of fun that you do.”

Organizer Justin Lucas and his family ran the course in all directions.

Kentucky’s Tiffany Crawford, who is opening a Cigarette Racing Team dealership in the area with her fiancé Paul Michael Ison, grew up boating on Lake Cumberland. Crawford offered a direct take on last weekend’s conditions.

“The water was trash but the weather was beautiful,” she said. “But our Cigarette 42 Auroris and GSX 36 center consoles were the paceboats, and they got lots of attention. I think we might even have the GSX sold.”



































Check the slideshow above for images from the 16th annual event.

Though debris concerns have the organizers thinking about holding the event later next summer, that is easier said than done. Whatever dates they might select have to mesh with the availability of State Dock as a host venue. Plus, they do not want the Thunder Run to overlap on another longtime event.

“Dan and I talked about it yesterday and we’ll discuss it in the next month or two,” said Lucas. “I know there were some broken props and skegs here and there and that’s a drag. But I think most everybody had a good time.

“Once the books on this event are closed I am going to try not to think about it for a bit,” he said, then chuckled. “I want to get my own summer started.”

The water heading to the 76 Falls area was among the most debris-free of the entire lake.

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The Incredible Cask Of Kinley Clapp And The Kuttawa Cannonball Run



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