The 31st annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is shaping up to be a phenomenal event as high-performance boaters from around the country converge on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks next week.
More than 120 boats, from pontoons to high-performance catamarans, are expected at the Shootout that takes place Aug. 24-25 at Captain Ron’s Bar & Grill in Sunrise Beach. Thousands of spectator boats will line the 3/4-mile course to watch the racers compete for the Top Gun titles in their respective classes.
The Shootout has grown into a 12-day event filled with activities including poker runs, live auctions, street parties and a Hall of Fame dinner. The goal with each event is to raise as much money as possible for Lake of the Ozarks charities and to support area fire departments.
“We actually have events all year long,” said Christy Janssen, executive director of Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. “They can spend the whole week now. They can come to the Hall of Fame dinner, they can come to the poker run and they come to the meet and greet at performance. Every day they have something fun they can come and spend their week vacation down here at Lake of the Ozarks.”
The Shootout is expected to draw more than 100,000 people over the week, Janssen said, with an estimated 15,000 people visiting Captain Ron’s Bar & Grill on Saturday alone.
“We’re hoping we have a few more (racers) this year,” Janssen said. “We’re anticipating maybe a little bigger crowd. We’ve got some people that are trying to break some records, even further than they’ve already broken them.”
Organizers held a volunteer appreciation dinner on Wednesday evening where they honored more than 300 volunteers. More than 750 volunteers help run the Shootout, Janssen said. Last year’s Shootout raised more than $300,000 for 32 area charities and eight fire departments.
“Every dollar they’re spending at the Shootout event or buying something—a T-shirt, a hat, anything, all of our money goes right back into this community to support families and kids,” Janssen said. “The money is funneled right back here and really makes a huge difference for so many that would really be in trouble without it.”
The area businesses also benefit from the Shootout with the weekend generating some extra income before students return to school before the Labor Day weekend. Area businesses, such as Performance Boat Center and Big Thunder Marine, get behind the event with open houses and support through sponsorships.
The events leading up to the Shootout include the “Run What Ya Brung Poker Run” on Friday (August 16), the Shootout Treasure Hunt (August 19), Shootout Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction (August 20) and the Shootout on the Strip Meet and Greet (August 21). Just prior to the main event there is a Wishing on a Ride Powerboat Rides and the Poker Run Meet and Greet/Silent Auction (August 22), and the Poly Lift Lake Expo Poker Run on Friday, August 23.
Janssen said it’s the volunteers that have helped grow and evolve the Shootout billed as the largest unsanctioned boat race in the United States.
“It helps a lot of people and people love to come out for it because it’s a fun, week and a fun day,” Janssen said, adding, “thank you everybody for coming and supporting us and thank you to all the volunteers who work so tirelessly.”
For more about the Shootout, visit lakeoftheozarksshootout.com.