Back in 1988, it just sounded like a good idea. Get the local guys together and put an end once and for all to the ongoing argument over who had the biggest, baddest boat on the water. The bragging rights were up for grabs and more than a few accepted the challenge that first year.
The race has grown in the last 25 years, attracting tens of thousands of visitors and racers not only from Lake of the Ozarks but across the country.
This weekend, the Shootout will celebrate it's silver anniversary of racing excitement at Captain Ron's in Sunrise Beach.
"We are excited and looking forward to this year's race," Captain Ron's owner Ron Duggan said.
This year should be no exception, some familiar names in racing are expected to take to the course this weekend. Speeds in excess of 200 mph are expected when the sleek high performance boats hit the water. Pontoons and Personal Watercraft will push limits, with drivers vying to be the best in their respective classes.
The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is a living legacy to the original group who helped get it started. But no matter who you ask, it is Fran Steingrubey who is credited with heading up the first Shootout and beginning the tradition at Lake of the Ozarks.
Steingrubey was a drag racer at heart. There was nothing he enjoyed more than the thrill of thundering down an open stretch of water, skating across the surface with the throttle wide open and nothing to hold him back. And, he brought home his share of records and trophies over the years. He loved the thrill of going fast and he loved working on the engines.
In the 1960s, Steingrubey left a successful business in Illinois and moved the family to the lake. Looking for a change of s pace he and his wife bought the old Robin’s Resort.
By the late 1980s, he was ready for a new challenge. The Steinbgrubey family broke ground for a new lakefront entertainment venue that would be called Shooter’s 21.
Maybe it was fate, maybe it wasn’t but whatever it was, it worked.
Steingrubey’s Shooter’s was the perfect location to hold a race. Plenty of room for a nice long stretch of waterway to give drivers plenty of space to open it up. With a handful of other locals, the first Shootout — a timed race pitting racers against each other’s best run — a race geared to giving the locals a chance to show their stuff, was born. Boats from 18 feet and up were welcome. The rules were simple and the goal was to have a good time.
Page 2 of 2 - The first year, Randy Scism took the Top Gun trophy running a boat with outboard motors. A group of sheiks who were some of the sponsors for Scism's boat apparently decided to come see what the race was all about. They created quite the sensation. The folks at the lake weren’t used to seeing sheiks wandering around but despite the language barrier they seemed to have a good time and enjoyed watching the boats. It was a donation from the sheiks that made have laid the foundation for using the event as a way to raise money for lake fire districts. The goal has now expanded to include many other charities.
As the lake area has grown and changed, so have the dynamics of the Lake Shootout. Back in 1988, no one hit 200 mph. No one envisioned a race that would draw competitors from other countries.
Despite a few changes to the race over the years, the spirit and the grassroots involvement have remained the driving force behind the success of the Shootout.
The rest is, quite literally, racing history.
When the Shootout celebrated its 20th anniversary, the event moved to the west side to Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill. The move marked the end of an era for the race at the 21-mile marker and the once well-known Shooter’s 21 venue.
Attendance has continued to grow on land and on water. The volunteer committee spearheading the event has kept the original intent of Shootout alive and well on the west side.
Shootout Top Guns
1989: Randy Scism 101 mph
1990: Dan Campbell 112 mph
1991: Bob Morgan and David Raber tie at 102.7 mph
1992: David Hollenberg ties with David Brown
1993: Edward Tshiggfrie/Rodney
1995: Bob and Rob Morgan 107.9 mph
1996: Greg Dusselier 114.5 mph
1997: David Scott 141 mph
1998: David Scott 142 mph
1999: David Scott 153 mph
2000: David Scott 160 mph
2001: David Scott 165 mph
2002: Dave Villwock 192 mph
2003: Dave Callan 203 mph
2004: Dave Villwock 198 mph
2005: Dave Callan 201 mph
2006: Dave Callan 208 mph
2007: Dave Callan and John Cosker 209 mph
2008: David Scott and John Tomlinson 178 mph
2009: David Scott and John Tomlinson 196 mph
2010: David Scott and John Tomlinson 208 mph
2011: Bill Tomlinson and Ken Kehoe 208 mph
2012: Greg Olson 192 mph