Ten days of activities await attendees at the 25th anniversary of the Lake of the Ozarks SHOOTOUT powerboat races. Week long events beginning Friday, August 16, and continuing through Sunday, August 25, this year's Shootout will feature racing by watercraft ranging from remote-controlled boats to personal watercraft to offshore racing boats flying down the Lake at speeds of 200 mph. (The main racing event will be held Saturday, Aug. 24 and Sunday, August 25).
Captain Ron's Bar and Grill in Sunrise Beach is hosting the event for the sixth year. According to event sponsor and Captain Ron's owner Ron Duggan, the event continues to grow each year, with more events and bigger crowds. He estimates participation of approximately 120 racers and 100,000 spectators during the 10-day event. "Most importantly, however, the donations to local charities benefitting from the event continue to grow. That's what it's really all about," Duggan said, noting that last year's Shootout raised $100,000 for 22 area charities, including six local fire protection districts.The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is the largest unsanctioned boat race in the country, featuring some of the top racers and offshore racing powerboats in the U.S. and Canada. "Powerboat Magazine" lists it as one of eight "must-see" boating events, and the magazine readers have voted it the Number 1 race in the country.
From Thursday through Sunday, attendees can enjoy vendor booths featuring everything from sunglasses to boat motors. Duggan estimates as many as 20,000 people will walk through "vendor village" and "racer village" during the Shootout. While there are entry fees to a number of the week's activities, Duggan emphasized the opportunity to watch the race and meet the racers is free and accessible to all attendees. "Everything is free but the parking," he said. "You don't have to have a whole lot of money to do this." All the particulars of Shootout participation, like lodging and parking, can be found on the race's website at www.lakeoftheozarksshootout.org.
There are many ways to see all the action of the race. Captain Ron's provides fans with viewing options on land with a "jumbotron" and dozens of televisions on the beach, docks and inside the bar and restaurant. Attendees who want to see the races from the water are welcome to tie up along the course to watch. Last year's flotilla included approximately 9,000 boats along the length of the course. The cruise boat Celebration also offers the opportunity to watch the race from its decks, with shuttle service from Captain Ron's. For those who cannot attend in person, the Shootout will be streaming online.
Duggan stresses that the activities, as well as the donations to the charities, would not be possible without the participation of Lake-area businesses and volunteers. Last year, 569 volunteers donated 6,425 hours to ensuring the event's success. Their participation helps keep costs down so more of the money generated by the event can go to charities.
The Shootout combines sports with community activism. Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau, sums it up this way: "The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout has grown over the years to be the premier boating event in the Midwest. The Shootout is a great example of all aspects of our community coming together to benefit the Lake as a whole."
Visit www.lakeoftheozarksshootout.org/schedule.html for the full schedule of SHOOTOUT events and activities.