Join the Club: Tri State River Rats Powersports Club

[Were it not for two days of heavy rain, we would’ve joined Tri State River Rats Powersports Club president Steve Kresko and nearly two dozen other riders on a great two-day ride through our backyard, Old Hickory Lake. Braving the elements, they avoided floating branches, submerged trees and took in some amazing scenery that we missed out on. But you can learn from our mistakes and learn more about them and join the Tri State River Rats Powersports Club on their next ride below. -Ed.]

“Our club was formed in 2000, in a riverside cabin at mile marker 597 on the Ohio River, in Louisville, Kentucky, by George and Terri McCarver and some friends. Named ‘The Louisville River Rats Social Club,’ it was the first American Watercraft Association charter club in Kentucky. Unique in that it was not just a PWC club, members were also boaters and motorcyclists, along with ATV and snowmobile enthusiasts.

“Fast forward to 2012. We had done many events with the Tri-State PWC Club (also an AWA Charter Club), based in Cincinnati. Both clubs had cross-over members, members from Indiana, and some far-flung regional locations; so it seemed a good idea to combine forces and become The Tri-State River Rats Powersports Club.

“With more than 350 members, there is a core group that attends nearly every event. Geographically, we cover southern Ohio and Indiana, Kentucky; and a chunk of Tennessee, but we have members from as far away as Michigan, Georgia and even Canada. River Rats membership is free. The Ohio River is our home water, and we regularly ride stretches from the Meldahl Dam about 40 miles east of Cincinnati to the McAlpine dam in Louisville.

“You’ll also find us on Norris Lake, Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow Lake, Nolin Lake, Kentucky and Lake Barkley (Land Between the Lakes), and many other regional spots. River Rats have also travelled to Tennessee, Michigan, Florida and New York/New Jersey.

“We host several events including the Solstice Ride, Ghost Ship of the Ohio Tour; and our newest, The PWC Jamboree and Poker Run. First held in 2016 on the weekend after Labor Day, the Poker Run drew 42 riders from seven states to Shanghai Resort on Norris Lake in Lafollette, TN. This year, the weekend-long event will be held September 8-10. The Poker Run itself will be on Saturday, September 9, with casual group rides Friday and Sunday.

“Some of our new events this year include The Darkest Day Ride (Mon., Aug 21 during the total eclipse) and Destin-ation, coming in October, in Destin, FL. Check out our event calendar on our Facebook page.

“In addition, River Rats participate in charity rides including the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics, Grand Tour to Benefit Leader Dogs for the Blind, Nolan Lake Poker Run, Toys for Tots, and Watercraft for Warriors for the Campbell County (TN) Honor Guard.

“We have only a few club rules, but one stands above the rest: we don’t leave anyone behind. If a rider falls back, we circle around to find them. If someone has a mechanical problem, we’ll do what’s necessary to fix it or to get them to safety and get the ski trailered.

“One of the biggest compliments we receive is when new members say ‘it’s like we’ve known you for 10 years.’ We consider ourselves family, and new family members are always welcome. Contact us via email at or through our Facebook group.

If you’re a PWC riding club president, group and/or event organizer who regularly hosts rides and is looking for greater access to a larger audience of potential members, and would like to be featured in a segment of “Join The Club” please email 300-500 words about your group, a minimum of 3 high-resolution images, and hyperlinks to your social media pages to

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