Some of the world's fastest boats will be in Central Missouri for two days of speed and nine days of entertaining events during the 30th Annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, August 18-26. Heralded as one of the "must-see boating events" in the country by Powerboat Magazine, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is the largest unsanctioned boat racing event in the nation. Over 100,000 spectators turn out for the Shootout each year to witness some of the fastest offshore powerboats in the world race individually to see who can clock the fastest speed as they compete for the coveted honor of "Top Gun."
According to Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau, the Shootout is a fun and exciting family-friendly event.
"The Shootout is certainly one of the most popular summer events at the Lake of the Ozarks and for a good reason," Jacobsen says. "It's an event that's unique to our lake and it's an amazing experience to see these incredibly fast boats fly across the water and hit top speeds of over 200 mph. And, the atmosphere at Captain Ron's is great. Everyone in attendance gets pumped up and cheers for the boats as they try to break the speed record. It really is a 'must-see' event."Jump Zone" for littler kids.
The Shootout, celebrating its 30th anniversary, brings in about 100 boats to compete for top honors along the lake race course in front of Captain Ron's Bar and Grill. Captain Ron's is located on Lake Road 5-50 in Sunrise Beach or the 34.5 Mile Marker by water. Last year, the American Ethanol powerboat was awarded the overall "Top Gun" honor for the third year running after its best run clocked in at 204 mph. The eight-person American Ethanol team will be back again this year to defend their title and try to break the current Shootout speed record of 244 mph, set in 2014 by the Spirit of Qatar.
"There's a lot of excitement with it being the 30th anniversary," says Ron Duggan, the event coordinator and owner of Captain Ron's Bar and Grill. "Because of that we're expecting a larger crowd for the weekend. We also have some big name competitors signed up to race this year, so it's going to be really exciting and a great show for the crowd."
The races take place on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and 26 along the official three-fourths-of-a-mile-long track. There will be nearly 70 different race divisions with over 10 Top Gun class winners named over the course of the weekend. Divisions include professional, non-professional and manufacturer classes, among others.
Saturday's activities get underway with personal water craft races from 8:30-9:30 a.m., followed by the official opening ceremonies and national anthem at 9:45 a.m. The powerboat races begin after the opening ceremonies and continue until 5 p.m. Between powerboat races there also will be a powerboat parade by the local marine dealers as well as acrobatic aerial performances by Brian Correll Airshows. From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., there will be a vendor village selling various goods and souvenirs and a racing village with the latest and greatest in performance engines and accessories on display. There will be over 60 different exhibitors present and both villages are open to the public. After Saturday's races conclude, there will be live music at Captain Ron's by Fat Mike and the Bartenders followed by Members Only. DJ Kyle will close out the evening after Members Only. The music will run from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m.
On Sunday, the vendor and racing villages will open at 9 a.m. and the high-octane action picks up with races taking place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The presentation of the 2018 "Top Gun" honors will take place during the awards ceremony at 4 p.m. Many spectators choose to get a front row seat for the races by tying up their boats along the course outside of Captain Ron's. There are typically around 6,000 boats filled with onlookers cheering on the powerboats. On land, visitors can view the races on televisions at Captain Ron's. And, those who can't make it in person can watch live online at www.KRMSradio.com.
Although the weekend races are certainly the largest draw, there are many other events that lead up to the action-packed weekend. Other activities and events include the Mini-Shootout the weekend of August 18 and 19 in the Ha Ha Tonka cove in Camdenton, which features remote-controlled boat races; the Great Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Treasure Hunt on August 20 in the sandy beaches at Captain Ron's; a Shootout Volleyball Tournament also at Captain Ron's on August 21 and the Shootout Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony takes place at Cannon Smoked Saloon in Sunrise Beach on August 21.
The Shootout on the Strip meet and greet party takes place along the historic Bagnell Dam Strip in Lake Ozark the evening of August 22. The meet and greet is a great opportunity for the public to peek inside these incredible racing machines and meet the captains and crews of each participating vessel. There also will be fun and entertaining activities for children as well.
In addition, the heart-warming Wish Upon a Ride event takes place on August 23 from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. at dock three at Captain Ron's. For Wish Upon A Ride, powerboat captains donate their time to give special powerboat rides to over 150 children and adults with disabilities and/or serious medical conditions providing them with an incredibly memorable experience that brings smiles to their faces as well as their families'.
There's the popular on-the-water poker run on August 24 with registration and breakfast running from 7:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. at Big Thunder Marina in Gravois Mills. The poker run concludes at Shady Gators Bar and Grill in Lake Ozark, at 6 p.m.
At the completion of the poker run there will be a dinner and award ceremony as well.
Over the years, the Shootout has become one of the most popular summer events at the Lake of the Ozarks, as well as one of the most successful fundraisers for the community. Last year, the Shootout donated $200,000 to 28 local charities and eight fire departments. Duggan is hoping to surpass that figure for 2018 and he's proud to say that in the 10 years the Shootout has been held at Captain Ron's, they've generated $1.43 million for local Lake of the Ozarks charities.
For complete details on the 2018 Shootout, including information on lodging and parking as well as a full schedule of activities, visit www.LakeOfTheOzarksShootout.org.
For additional attractions, events as well as all lodging and dining options available at the Lake of the Ozarks, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau's award-winning website, www.FunLake.com. Or, call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
-Lake of the Ozarks Covention and Visitor Bureau