Commentary: Jammin’ On The James—My Bad, They’re Good


This is what you call a “make good.” Allow me to explain.

A few issues ago, I wrote a story for Powerboat magazine called “Five Poker Runs to Do Before You Die.” As you’d expect from the title, it was basically a “best-of-the best” round-up story, not meant to be all-inclusive and—like all such stories—highly subjective. Included in that feature was a sidebar called, “Worth Your Time,” which listed and briefly described seven other well-known poker runs.

The Jammin’ on the James Poker Run, despite its typical 100-plus boat count and solid reputation, which includes an epic post-run dock party, wasn’t mentioned in the feature or the sidebar. Somehow, even though I’d heard glowing accounts about the Richmond (Va.) Power Boat Association’s signature run, which will be held this year July 9, from several sources, it slid under my radar.

My story, however, did not slide under the radar of organizer Mark Shackleford and the rest of what I’ll call the Jammin’ on the James gang. The magazine got a few letters—and even printed one—and I got  a few emails, courtesy of, all of which were cordial and funny, but saying, “Hey, what gives? What about us? Come check us out.”

When I bumped into Shackleford and a couple of other members of the Jammin’ on the James gang during the Miami Boat Snow Poker Run in February, they continued to give me good-natured grief about my story. And frankly, based on those encounters alone—the Jammin’ on the James gang seems like a fun-lovoing group—I’d be delighted to cover their event.

Unfortunately, this year I can’t. doesn’t have a travel budget—at least not yet—and Powerboat didn’t have covering the event in its 2011 editorial plan

In any case, I’ll bring you more updates about the Jammin’ on the James event as it gets closer. Plus, I’m hoping to post a real-time story—with pictures—via Shackleford and others who are actually on site when it happens. Stay tuned.