Being somewhat physically removed from the Shootout since it moved to Captain Ron's on the westside, I don't get caught up in all the hoopla that takes place over the 10-day event. I certainly take in a couple of events each year, but I leave the partying and the need to be front and center to others.
But how could you not get excited about a twin-turbine offshore racing boat My Way going 224 miles per hour on this little old puddle we call the Lake of the Ozarks?
Incredible, to say the least. Absolutely incredible. How fitting for the 25th anniversary.
Congratulations to the driver, the throttleman and the crew that helped make it happen.
I opted to avoid the hundreds of oversized and overindulgent boats and stay home this year. I've done the 13-mile trip from my cove to the Shootout racecourse several times now, and it's more of a challenge to my safety and sanity (and my passengers') than it's worth. I watched re-runs on television in my air-conditioned condo.
I was told twice by boaters last year that because I had a pontoon boat I couldn't tie up within the long lines of obviously bigger and better boats than mine. So be it. It's not me that has a complex.
The Shootout in the Park, formerly the Meet and Greet, moved from Lake Ozark to the Laurie Fairgrounds this year because Lake Ozark bar owners and city officials couldn't negotiate an agreement. The board of aldermen is opposed to suspending the open container law for events, including the Shootout Meet and Greet. There was a half-hearted attempt to find some middle ground, but it didn't happen.
Within days of Lake Ozark's decision, it was announced the event would be moved to Laurie and renamed Shootout in the Park. Clever. Somebody on the westside obviously anticipated Lake Ozark's decision and had time to craft an easily marketable name.
I hear mixed reaction to the new location.
I think people generally enjoyed the Lake Ozark location because the complete lineup of boats was easily accessible by simply walking up and down The Strip. At the Laurie Fairgrounds, the boats seemed scattered among the trees and on the roadways with no real maneuverable layout.
However, because there were several food booths at two beer vendors, that provided a different perspective. Those who wanted a beer could easily meander around the park; those who preferred something non-alcoholic had equal opportunity. Food and beverage on The Strip were only available if you went on the grounds of a bar/restaurant. In Laurie, there was no such requirement since the vendors were set up in a central location.
Personally, I enjoy the ease of The Strip.
Page 2 of 2 - But in Laurie, I appreciated the ability to walk freely among the people and the boats with a beer. Would I have gone to Laurie if beer weren't available? Why, most certainly. I — like many others — am fascinated by the toys of the rich and famous.
I've heard no reports of pillaging, or alcohol-induced fighting, or general mayhem at the Laurie Fairgrounds that many in Lake Ozark feared would happen if open containers were allowed.
What I have heard is that the east side of the lake may have suffered a bit without any activities over here. Yes, the Meet and Greet in past years was in Lake Ozark, but we saw many of the big boats last year parked in motel parking lots, in supermarket parking lots and motoring along Osage Beach Parkway.
I think Ronald Reagan called it trickle down economics. Not so much, this year.
I'm sure it would be difficult to persuade the Shootout Committee to reconsider Lake Ozark even if the open container ban is lifted — which won't happen short of a run on city hall by the bar owners, business owners and residents. Osage Beach and Camdenton have expressed interest, but my bet is Laurie and the westside have added another notch to their collective belts.
I honestly don't fault Lake Ozark for saying, in effect, no thank you. The decision was based on the city's belief that the city's residents and best interests are protected by leaving the ban in effect.
That's certainly commendable.
Never forget that even though the lake area is one big happy family, the communities are still competing with each other for more business and more people. If local communities want to rely on sales tax revenues to drive their economic engines, there may have to be a compromise of principles.
Or some serious thinking outside the box, also called vision.