The Resurgence of TOPPS Lake Conroe


Quite a few performance boats turned out for the annual members calcutta and poker run organized by TOPPS Lake Conroe. Photos by Jeffery Wheat Photography

After hosting its annual members calcutta and poker run a couple of weeks ago, it appears that the Texas Offshore Performance Powerboat Squadron (TOPPS) is in a growth mode.

According to Paul Shouse, the president of TOPPS Lake Conroe, the club’s annual gathering took a step in the right direction last month (July 19-20) after several years of decline on account of the economy and a drought that has caused low lake levels. Located northwest of Houston, TOPPS Lake Conroe, which was founded in 1985 as a non-profit organization, has a sister club—TOPPS Clear Lake—on the opposite side of Houston.


“We were pleased with the overall turnout this year and we are very excited about planning the remaining events for the year,” said Shouse, who owns a Donzi 45 ZX with his wife, Carla. “Overall we had roughly 100 participants involved in the event.”

To kick off the festivities, a calcutta was held at April Sound Country Club on Friday evening. Hosted by John and Paula Stewart, the event included food and drink followed by a spirited bidding war between club vice president Kenny Milstead, who owns the 36-foot Skater Category 4, and former TOPPS officer Trent Fischer, who drives the 43-foot Nor-Tech Screws Loose II.

With more than 20 boats tackling Saturday’s seven-stop poker run, which included lunch hosted by Allison Harpold of Walden Marina, the afternoon concluded with a raft-up swim before the casino night party. Along with a fully catered dinner, the party featured gaming tables for craps, blackjack, roulette and poker.

Overall, the event raised $3,500 for charity and winning boat captain Dominic Biondolillo and his wife, Jessica, took home more than $2,700 after completing the run in their 38-foot Hustler Tsunami.