Lake Hartwell Charity Run Turns 15 In Style

Lake Hartwell Charity Run Turns 15 In Style

Surrounded by unblemished countryside in South Carolina and Georgia, Lake Hartwell is on the verge of losing its well-earned hidden-gem status. Don’t misunderstand, the 56,000-acre reservoir in the Upper Savannah River Basin is still a gem and likely always will be.

Last weekend’s Hartwell Lake Poker Run sparkled like the no-longer-hidden gem it is. Photos by Scott Janes, Ashley Shutter and Matt Trulio.

But thanks to the annual Lake Hartwell Charity Run benefitting Meals On Wheels-Anderson in South Carolina and the generous, performance-boat-loving people who have supported it for the past 15 years, it won’t remain “hidden” much longer. Event success and the popularity that comes with it has a price-tag.

So who should we, the people who love hidden gems, blame for this success story?

South Carolina’s Scott James (right) and friends enjoyed the Friday night welcome party and auction.

Start with locals such as Scott James, who owns a DCB Performance Marine M33R catamaran—one of more than a dozen DCB creations that frequent the waterway—for the rise of the event. Last weekend’s record-setting turnout of almost 150 registered boat for the 15th annual event must be his fault. James has supported the run since its early days.

This year’s Lake Hartwell happening even impressed him.

“This is definitely the largest turnout that we’ve had here at our Lake Hartwell home-water, which has nearly 1,000 miles of shoreline and spans from South Carolina into Georgia,” he said. “The weather was sunny and dry and in the mid-80s. The lake was at full pond and winds were still— perfect conditions for boating.”

There is no shortage of DCB hardware on Lake Hartwell.

Though the exact amount raised for Meals On Wheels-Anderson through Friday evening’s charity auction, participant registration, individual donations during the event and more is not yet in, the current total stands at more than $100,000—another record-setter.

“What an incredible weekend,” James added. “And what a well-run event by the Meals On Wheels team.”

Or maybe we should blame the likes of local Chuck Stark, who had eight boats—two of them were his—including Mike and Angela Goldbaugh’s gorgeous Skater 388 catamaran dubbed LATE FEE$ X3 tied up at the docks behind his shoreline home. Stark had 25 out-of-town guests representing states including Alabama, Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina and Ohio in his home and on his property in motorhomes and fifth-wheel trailers.

The scene at Stark’s was the stuff of a go-fast boating fanatic’s dreams.

To say Stark put his heart into the weekend understates things. Because he and his wife, Shannon, are all heart.

“The Lake Hartwell event helps a stunning amount of people who need the services Meals On Wheels-Anderson,” he said. “It’s all about those people and the people who support the event.”

Or maybe we should blame Stark’s out-of-town guests such as DCB vice-president Tony Chiaramonte, who brought his 14-year-old son, Ashton, from their home on Phoenix this year, or “Donzi” Dale Minnick and his wife, Sandi Wolfe, who came from Cincinnati.

(From left) Jessica and Kiran Pinisetti host the Chiaramonte boys for both days on their 37-footer.

Chiaramonte didn’t just show up to support DCB customers such as Indiana’s Kiran and Jessica Pinisetti, who own and DCB 37R catamaran. Nor did he fly almost 2,000 miles east with his son just to put another event on his travel-roster—he already has plenty. He came because he loves everything about the Lake Hartwell run.

“The people are amazing, the lake is awesome,” he said. “Everything about this event is incredible.”

Perhaps the real culprit in Minnick, a humble guy with a self-deprecating sense of humor, who like Chiaramonte came boat-less to the event. Minnick and Wolfe hitched a ride in Stark’s Crypto Outerlimits V-bottom on Friday and on his MTI-V 42 center console on Saturday.

New Cigarette Kentucky dealership owners Paul Michael Ison and Tiffany Crawford were among the backers of the 15th annual event.

Minnick enjoys the Lake Hartwell Charity Run. But he enjoys being with the starks the Starks—and appreciates what they do for the event—even more. The feeling is mutual as the couples often vacation together.

“We absolutely love them to death,” said Minnick. “They are just the nicest, most loving, most generous people you’ll ever meet. We go to spend time with them.”

Or maybe—just maybe—there is plenty of wonderful blame to go around.

Stark (behind wheel) had a few friends over for the weekend.

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