For the fourth year in a row, the Big Boat Bash Fun Run organized by the Beaver Lake Performance Boat Association and benefitting Sheep Dog Assistance Impact—”a national non-profit organization that exists to engage, assist and empower” veterans and first-responders according to its website—is returning to Beaver Lake in Arkansas. The event, which is slated for July 20-21, attracted more than 50 boats last year and is shooting for 60 to 70 boats this year.
Participants in the family-oriented Big Boat Bash Fun Run reportedly spent as much time rafting up as running.
“Last year, we raised $15,000 for the charity,” said Brian Buckminster, one of the event’s organizers, who owns a 1989 Cigarette Bullet sportboat and lives in Siloam Springs, Ark. “Lake of the Ozarks is about four hours from here, so a lot of the people who run on Beaver Lake spend a lot of time running on that lake, so we attract a good group from there.”
Proximity to the Lake of the Ozarks also has attracted Performance Boat Center and Poly Lift Boat Lifts as sponsors from the area. The list of sponsors for the event also includes Bottoms Up, Complete Audio Visual, NWA Custom Audio and Lighting, IR-Designs, Macadoodles, Old Town-Auto Body, Prairie Creek Marina, Pro-Trucks, Starkey Marina, Triple Oaks Investments and Twin Peaks Rogers restaurant and sports bar.
As in years past, this year’s Big Boat Bash will begin with a street party at Twin Peaks Rogers. The party will include powerboat displays in the restaurant parking area.
“Last year, we had more than 40 boats there,” said Buckminster. “We couldn’t fit them all in the lot.”
While there is a poker hand element to the event, it’s not a poker-run format with stops where participants pick up cards. Instead, the organizers instruct participants to take selfie photos at various set locations during the run on the 28,370-acre lake created by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which they present when the day is done to receive their card hands.
The fleet will return to Starkey Marina for lunch and then head off to a couple of popular coves—Hogscald Hollow and Castle—for raft-ups to finish the day on the water.
“We do more hanging out and tying up than running,” said Buckminster. “It’s definitely big, family-oriented event. I’m bringing my two daughters, Brooklyn and Bentley.”
From there, they’ll head to Prairie Creek Marina for dinner catered by Twin Peaks and to play the poker hands.
“We don’t have a lot of bars and restaurants on the water, so after that people tend to head in big groups for the evening,” said Buckminster. “Beaver Lake is not particularly big and most of the people there are not familiar with big high-performance boats, so we tread lightly and are very cautious out there.
“We attract some big names like (Oklahoma-based) Carlton Bass, who brings his DCB catamaran,” he continued. “And unlike a lot of other events that take out participants from their charities for boat rides the day before, which is great, we take out the veterans and first responders on the run on Saturday so they can enjoy what we get to do every weekend.”
The entry fee for the Big Boat Bash Fun Run is $100. Each card hand costs an additional $50. For more information and registration, click here.