The final countdown has begun to one of the biggest events at the Lake of the Ozarks ― Lake Race 2014.

The final countdown has begun to one of the biggest events at the Lake of the Ozarks ― Lake Race 2014.

The Offshore Powerboat Association-sanctioned race will take place June 7-8 near Bagnell Dam, but several days of associated activities leading up to the race are planned as well.

The week actually begins Tuesday, June 3, when a Lake Race Volunteer Party will be held at Beavers at the Dam, the host location for the race. A Pontoon Party is planned Wednesday, June 4, a Props and Hoses Fun Run on Thursday, June 5; a Lake Race Street Party will be Friday, June 5.

Racing begins shortly after opening ceremonies at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, June 6, and concludes with an awards ceremony about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 7.

A complete schedule and more details will be published prior to the race, or can be found at


The racecourse

The actual racecourse and no-wake zone will be virtually identical to last year.

Race officials say the racecourse begins and ends near Bagnell Dam, about a half-mile out from the dam itself. The 4.5-mile, oval course will offer boaters and landlubbers some quality viewing as boats in nine classes race for individual and overall championship honors.

Some 52 buoys will be used to mark the perimeter of the no-wake area, and between five and seven buoys will be placed by OPA officials to mark the actual racecourse.

One of the most critical parts of the course is the no-wake area where boaters are not allowed to travel above wake speed. That restriction is for the safety of the race drivers as roller waves and chop could cause a driver to lose control.

The no-wake zone will extend from the dam to just east of Isle del Sol (formerly Atlantis Island) at about the 4-mile marker. The Water Patrol Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Lake Ozark Fire Department and volunteers will monitor the racecourse to help boaters follow the rules.

The racecourse will be set up by about 3 p.m. Friday, July 6, so the Water Patrol and other race officials can make final adjustments. The racecourse will be shut down to no-wake beginning early Saturday morning, and will reopen about 5 p.m. The course will shut down to no-wake traffic about 10 a.m. Sunday, again opening by 5 p.m.

The Water Patrol will extend its coverage beyond the west end of the no-wake zone to encourage boaters to slow down well in advance of the course, and to discourage boats from creating wakes that damage docks, other boats and personal property.

Race organizers are urging boaters to use discretion and be courteous throughout the two-day event.


No rafting

While it’s a popular pastime at the lake, rafting or joining boats in groups will not be allowed within the no-wake zone except in adjacent coves away from the course. Many areas of the shoreline are too close to the racecourse to allow rafting.

Residents of adjacent coves will be allowed in and out of their coves, but some areas parallel to the course may not permit through traffic.

A volunteer group called Anchor Management, headed by Mike Nelson of R. M. Nelson, will help boaters anchor in authorized areas.



Safety is of the utmost concern to race officials, and special precautions are being taken.

An Incident Action Plan (IAP) has been developed with the help of the Water Patrol, Lake Regional Hospital, the Lake Ozark and Osage Beach fire departments, the OPA and other race authorities.

Several pullout points have been established on both side of the lake in case emergency access is needed. A landing zone near Bagnell Dam also has been designated for Life Flight access.

Lake Ozark Helicopter will also provide emergency divers as part of the safety plan. Eight designated emergency divers will also be located around the course.

Alvin Heathman, one of the race organizers and a former offshore racer, said the safety plan is one of the most comprehensive he has seen.

The Lake Race is sanctioned by the OPA, and the race itself will be managed by OPA officials. Once they arrive, they will take charge of the race including the safety plan.

Next week: All about the on-shore events.