With a record-setting 119 registered boats in the mix, this weekend’s eighth annual Cigarette owners gathering produced by Performance Boat Center in Osage Beach, Mo., wrapped up Saturday on a decidedly high note. Like any long-lasting event, of course, the high-performance powerboat happening on the Lake of the Ozarks has its own momentum. Born of passion for the vaunted brand, that momentum was on full display yesterday, as well as during Friday’s fun run.
Todd Fountain ran his 2022 model-year Cigarette 41 Nighthawk in this weekend’s event on the Lake of the Ozarks. Photos by Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos
Late yesterday morning, Cigarette owners from around the country headed out of the dealership’s Lake of the Ozarks location at Mile Marker 21 for lunch at Big Dick’s Halfway Inn. A healthy raft-up at Linn Creek followed the relatively short run.
For speedonthewater.com photographer Jeff Helmkamp, capturing yesterday’s action was both satisfying and a bit challenging. His original ride for the day, a stunning Cigarette 42X Lip-Ship Edition sportboat owned by Dan Ellis of Southern California, had an engine issue so he grabbed a ride via car to the lunch spot. Fortunately for Helmkamp, Ron Szolack, who owns a 42 Huntress GTO center console, had plenty of space for the photographer and had not left for the raft-up.
Yesterday’s raft-up on Linn Creek was a sea of Cigarette fiberglass.
“When we got there the raft-up was going in full force with, I would guess, 30 to 40 boats,” Helmkamp said. “Several pulled in after us.
“That was a lot of fun, hanging out and talking boats with Ron,” he added. “I wasn’t able to get a lot of action shots of boats running, though I did get a few.”
Among those shots was one of Todd and Danielle Fountain, and a few of their friends, running a 41 Nighthawk center console they took delivery of after the 2022 Miami International Boat Show. The Fountains ran alongside Szolack and company on the way to Linn Creek.
Enjoy more images from yesterday’s happening.
“It was an awesome event,” Fountain said.
His friend and fellow Michigander Szolack agreed. “It was so much fun,” he said. “Now we’re getting ready to put the boat back on the trailer at Performance Boat Center and head back to Michigan.”
Following last night’s dinner celebration in the Performance Boat Center showroom, the MTI, Sunsation Boats, Performance Powerboats and Velocity Powerboats dealership auctioned Cigarette-branded memorabilia including several banners carrying the brand name, an LED Cigarette sign from the dealership’s showroom and a large outdoor Cigarette sign that had been hung at the back of its paint shop.
Ron Szolack’s 42-footer pulled photographer platform duty for speedonthewater.com contributor Jeff Helmkamp (right, on bench) and Fast and Loud Photography’s Erick Bryner.
“I won’t have the final number until next week,” said Brett Manire, who co-owns Performance Boat Center with Mark Waddington. “But we raised somewhere close to $35,000 for Make-A-Wish.”
Asked if the auction of Cigarette-branded items meant that this weekend’s owners rendezvous was the last one for Performance Boat Center, which is no longer a Cigarette dealer, Manire responded quickly.
“No, sir,” he said. “As we announced last night, the event will continue.”
As usual, Performance Boat Center ended the event with a bang. Photos by Brett Manire courtesy of Performance Boat Center.
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