Lake of the Ozarks Shootout
The Lake Rescue Shootout started in 1988 as an event in which many local boats participated simply to establish who had the fastest boat. As the years went by it became a bigger and bigger event that also helped supplement the Lake area Fire Departments water rescue efforts. This is an annual event that takes place each year in August. The Shootout is the reason tens of thousands of boating enthusiasts book Lake vacations and scrap the real world for an entire week.
Lake of the Ozarks Shootout History
Before there was a Shootout, local boaters gathered in places like “Six-Mile Cove.” They would boast about speed, each confident his boat was the fastest at the Lake of the Ozarks. Drag boats and jet boats, flat bottom, inboard and V-drives - boat enthusiasts of all kinds tied up and partied. The bragging would inevitably culminate in a race. A couple of boats would pair up to prove who was really the fastest. Surrounded by a cheering crowd, confident boaters would make their way to a cove and race - illegally. Sometimes it was Ford vs. Chevy; other times Scarab vs. Fountain. There were no advertisements, no helmets and no race officials. It was spontaneous, and whoever showed up would race just for fun. The two-seater jet boats could get up to an impressive 100 mph. However, as the Lake’s population grew, the Missouri Water Patrol put an end to the impromptu races.
But the local guys wanted to race. So the Shootout was born. Originally named The Lake Rescue Shootout, its organizers were Carmen Netoli, Fran Steingrubey, John Page and Kevin Hurtuibise.
“It was neat to go out in a safe environment and watch some of the fastest boats you normally would never get to see,” 2012 Shootout Race Coordinator Kent Morris said. “We spent the afternoon relaxing in our boat with friends, listening to the speeds on the radio. I remember when the top speed was 130 mph and then they did 150; we thought ‘wow!.’ “Then we saw a hydroplane run 200 mph. It was amazing!”
Originally the event lasted two days: Saturday was for practice, Sunday was for speed. Racers would run to the end of the course, turn around, and come back, with both runs timed. Only a few boats would top 100 mph. Now the race is a one-mile, one-way, straight course.
As the Shootout grew, so did the caliber of the boats in the race. Eventually, racers were cruising past 200 mph. No longer a local race, the Shootout turned into an international event, bringing boaters from 30 states and several countries each year. Much of this has been attributed to local marina owner and powerboat racer Bob Morgan. Morgan’s relationship with top-notch racers expanded the scope of the Shootout. Powerboat Magazine came aboard in 2002, further expanding the Shootout’s reach. It is now the largest unsanctioned boat race in the United States, having been voted the No. 1 boat race/shootout in the country by Powerboat Magazine readers two years in a row. The magazine also lists it as one of eight must-see boating events. Official speeds at the new Captain Ron’s course have hit 208 mph each of the last two years. Former Shootout race coordinator and Osage Beach Fire District Fire Chief Jeff Dorhauer marveled at the growth of the event. “We just wanted to race,” he said. “We never dreamed it would become what it is today.”
By The Years
1988: Osage Beach, Sunrise Beach, and Lake Ozark Fire Districts participated.
1991: Ad book was a 5 1/2” x 8 1/2” format
1993: The ad book became the current 8 1/2” x 11” format. The book has continually grown each year as more merchants and businesses participated. At this time it became called the Shooters Shootout or Natoli’s Shooters 21 Benefit Shootout through 1993 (Chairman of the Shootout board was then Carmelo Natoli)
1995: It became known as the Caleco’s Shooters 21 Benefit Shootout (Chairman of the Shootout board was then Mark Michael).
1996: Gravois and Mid-County Fire Districts joined the Osage Beach, Sunrise Beach, and Lake Ozark Fire Districts.
1997: The event became officially known as the Lake Fire Rescue Shootout. The number of boats participating has continually increased each year. On Sunday of 2000, 80 boats ran, making 128 passes through the course that day. Boats over 22 feet in length are allowed to run. Boats run in classes by length, hull design, size of motors, and number of motors.
2002: the Lake Rescue Shootout was proud to bring on POWERBOAT Magazine, Charter Communications and Tan-Tar-A Resort as sponsors.
2005: Jack Miller Marine and Velocity Powerboats joined as sponsors.
2006: Brought on Extreme Power Sports from here at the Lake and a new course record set by Dave Callan and John Cosker of 208 mph. Before the race moved to the west side, the Shootout record-holders were Dave Callan and John Cosker. In 2006, the pair set an incredible course record of 208 mph, pushing it to 209 mph the following year. Dorhauer calls Callan the most memorable person he has met at the Shootout. “His 209 mph run was so courageous. It was awesome to see him running down the lake at 209 mph. He puts his heart and soul into breaking his own speed record every year,” said Dorhauer. “The first year Callan raced in the Shootout he beat Dave Scott after he dominated the course for five years in a row. It was very much unexpected,” Dorhauer said. Scott was sponsored by Budweiser and reined as Top Gun for eight years.
2007: The poker run is now 2 days and Lucas Oil on the Edge on Speed TV will be on location filming the event & John Cosker breaks his own record with an amazing 209 mph run.
2008: The Shootout took its last name change as Ron Duggan took the helm. Dubbed the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, it was moved to the 34 mile marker on the west side of the Lake. Duggan describes the race as a, “Week-long festival in an Ozarks family atmosphere with more than 100 booths showcasing area businesses and organizations, a racer village and dock access for interaction with the racers and race teams.” Today more than 80,000 fans watch the two-day race by land and water. The event has grown to include more than week’s worth of activities: A poker run, a golf tournament, a remote-control mini shootout, a treasure hunt, an auction, a strip party, a PWC dam run and a stereo shootout.The 20th Anniversary Shootout brought a whole new atmosphere for the first time in 20 years. The Shootout was held at a new location. Captain Ron's Bar and Grill was chosen for the new site following the demolition of Shooters 21. With the new location & renewed excitement over 60,000 fans watched the 2 day races. Dave Scott reclaimed the TOP GUN with a 178 mph run. In 2008, the Shootout raised more than $40,000
2009: New records were set all over the place as David Scott set a new course record at 196 mph and record attendance was estimated at over 70,000 spectators. Despite a sagging global economy, the Shootout remains stronger than ever. In 2009, the Shootout raised more than $50,877
2010: David Scott and John Tomlinson made it three in a row with a blistering run of 208 mph. With the addition of 6 new events to complete a week long schedule of activities, the committee set a new record by donating $70,000.00 to 20 different charitable organizations. The goal of the new committee was to make it a week long event instead of just a weekend. 2010 saw that happen as they added a Treasure Hunt, a Mini-Shootout, a meet and greet with the Racers during the Shootout on the Strip, Puttin' on the Wish Rides, a fantastic Fireworks display, and an additional Concert featuring David Ball on Monday night that provided much needed food items to a local food pantry.
2011: For the first time in three years a new champion was crowned. Canadian Bill Tomlinson and Ken Kehoe driving a sleek turbine powered Mystic named "My Way" ran 8 times and tied the course record of 208 mph on three different runs. A record of over 100,000 fans witnessed the record setting week as $70,570.00 was donated to 20 different organizations. Another record of 493 Volunteers donated 5727 hours to make this event the largest community event of its kind. In 2011, the Shootout raised more than $70,570
2012: We are extremely excited to announce that we have donated $100,000.00 to 22 different organizations in the Lake area. We achieved our 5 year goal thanks to all of our sponsors, participants, vendors and to the public for attending all of our events this year. A big thank you also goes out to the 569 Volunteers that donated 6,425 hours to making this event the most successful in the history of the Shootout.
In the 5 years since the event was moved to Captain Ron's, the Shootout organization has donated over $322,000.00 to Lake Area Charities and continues to grow each and every year.
2013: The 25th Anniversary was nothing short of amazing. Events all week were packed. The Street Party which now became known as the Shootout in the Park was a tremendous success with over 8,000 people eating, drinking and conversing with all the race teams at the Laurie City Park. The new Shootout Hall of Fame had 10 new inductees from all aspects of the 25 years of the Shootout. There were very few dry eyes when Sue Morgan unveiled the new Bob Morgan Memorial/Shootout Hall of Fame at Captain Ron’s, complete with a flyover in the missing man formation as America the Beautiful was sung. The Racing was nothing short of spectacular as racers set new Shootout records including Joe Sgro’s 152 mph as top V, Dan O’Keefe’s 95 mph as top PWC, and Brad Rowland amazing 114 mph as top Pontoon. It was only fitting that on Sunday morning, the second run of the day, set a blistering new Shootout record of 224 mph by Bill Tomlinson and Ken Kehoe in My Way. And as great as all of that was, the Shootout Committee set an unprecedented amount of giving for the Shootout by handing out $115,000.00 in checks to 22 different Charities and Fire Departments. The Shootout is alive and well and looking forward to the 26th year in August of 2014.
2014: The 26th annual shootout was one of two completely different emotions. From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. The Spirit of Qatar absolutely smashed the old record that My Way had set just one year prior but it wasn't without a little drama of its own. On it's first run, a third of the way down the course, the parachutes deployed and caused a little tension with its crew, but they safely guided the Mystic down the remainder of the course and established a new second highest speed at 210 mph. Later on that day, the Spirit of Qatar blew away the field and all records by making an unbelievable run of 244 mph. With twice the horsepower of My Way, it was a run that was anticipated, but seeing it was amazing! In between runs, however, was the lowest point of the 26 year history of the Shootout when Joel Begin's boat, throttled by Mike Fiore, flipped end over end at the finish line. Rescue crews did a tremendous job of securing the scene and getting both men to the hospital. It was reported later in the day and again on Sunday, that Joel was able to walk away from the hospital the next day and that Mike would fully recover. On Tuesday after the Shootout, a day after hip surgery, Mike Fiore passed away and the entire Shootout family mourned his tragic death. The Shootout family and friends will always remember Mike and his contributions not only to the Shootout, but for his value and dedication to all of powerboating.
2015: The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is all about pushing the limits, and while the all-time speed record wasn't broken at this year's race, the fundraising record soared to a new high. The event raised $175,000 for local charities and fire districts: an increase of 40 percent over 2014, when the amount raised totaled $125,000 (setting a new record then, too).