An event which has been called one of the “must see” boat races in the country takes places this weekend in Mid-Missouri.
The “Lake of the Ozarks Shootout” started as a way for boaters to establish bragging rights over who had the fastest boat on the lake.
Event organizer Ron Duggen says, eventually, a fixed course was set-up with the support of local first responders. “They could go one boat at a time, and put a radar gun on them, and see how fast they went. It has pretty much just been the same for 27 years.”
The race features about 100 boats of all shapes and sizes, with the only stipulation being that they be at least 22 feet long. Duggen says the intensity level ranges from vacationers to serious power boaters. “We have pontoon boats that go anywhere from 50 mph to over 100. We have people who are down on vacation that just want to see how fast their boat will go. And we have some of the great big offshore power boats, like a 52 foot Mystic. We had one two years ago that went 244 mph out of the country of Qatar.”
Duggen claims every boat manufactured is represented in the Shootout. The watercraft are divided into up to 60 different classifications for the competition. There’s an award for the overall top speed of the weekend called the “Top Gun”. There are also Top Guns for the best performing professional and non-professional classifications. And there’s a Top Gun for manufacturers. Duggen says one year a barge competed in the race. “We don’t allow that anymore because it was kind of like watching paint dry. It took a little while to get down the course.”
Over 100,000 people are expected to watch the race. Duggen says most of the attendees are lined up along a three mile stretch of the lake. “They go out and they tie-up together, and they swim off the back of their boats and watch the boats go by.”
The “Lake of the Ozarks Shootout” takes place Saturday and Sunday in Sunrise Beach. Money raised from the event will go to 35 charities and fire departments in the region. National charities Habitat For Humanity and Make-A-Wish Foundation also take part and benefit from the race.