For the past nine years the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri has recognized those who have made significant impacts on the annual event throughout its 33-year history by including them in the Bob Morgan Memorial Hall of Fame. From the original Top Gun champion, MTI owner Randy Scism, and longtime volunteers and board members, Jeff and Diana Dorhauer, to the builder and throttleman of many of the overall Top Gun-winning boats—Mystic Powerboats owner and founder John Cosker—and Captain Ron’s owner Ron Duggan, more than 50 people and several businesses have received the honor.
Mark Maasen, who owns Poly Lift Boat Lifts with his brother, learned this evening during a Lake of the Ozarks Shootout committee meeting celebrating the launch of the event program and announcing this year’s Bob Morgan Memorial Hall of Fame class that he will join his wife, Tiffany, in the event’s esteemed group. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos
True to form, this year’s 10th annual Bob Morgan Memorial Hall of Fame class features an excellent mix of inductees, starting with one of the longest-supporting members of the community, Mark Maasen of Poly Lift Boat Lifts. Joining Maasen are Scott Lyons and Ruben Sifuentes of Central Power and Rigging, John Teichman of Shooters 21 fame, longtime Shootout participant Mike “Gordo” Gordon, Anheuser-Busch distributor Missouri Eagle and the established radar crew of Michael Wagner, Toni Wagner and Sandy Laffoon.
The members of the class of 2022 are going to be inducted during a dinner ceremony scheduled for Tuesday evening (August 23) at the Lighthouse in Sunrise Beach, but before that happens, here’s some information on each of the initiates beginning with the aforementioned Maasen, who has been involved in one way or another with pretty much every Shootout for more than three decades.
A longtime member of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout committee, Mark Maasen also has participated in the event many times, including in 2015 in his Cigarette 38 Top Gun. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
“I’ve been a part of the Shootout since day one; I didn’t do any planning or anything like that but my dad and Bob Morgan were close friends so we used our 1988 CorrectCraft Fish Nautique—I still have the boat—as a patrol boat in the first Shootout,” said Maasen, who is following his wife, Tiffany, an extremely dedicated Shootout volunteer, into the Hall of Fame. “In some shape or form, our family has always been involved. We’ve competed on the course, had a booth at the old Shooters 21 location, provided the ‘Poly dock’ so race teams could service their boats or change propellers, sponsored the event and got more and more involved from a leadership standpoint.
“I can’t imagine not being a part of the Shootout,” he added. “It’s such a great event for this community and for the charities. And while it requires a lot of time away from work—thankfully my brother, Mike, and the rest of our team make it possible for me to devote my time to the event—the reward comes at the end of the year when we get to hand out the checks to the charities. That is feel good money for the heart and that’s what it is all about.”
Maasen, who understands the contributions made from everyone in the community, was instrumental in the selection of the dynamic duo of Central Power and Rigging into this year’s class. Not only have Lyons and Sifuentes provided their mechanical expertise with Maasen’s boats throughout the years, they have been essential to getting many notable participants’ boats prepared for the Shootout, including Slug Hefner, Michael “Doc” Janssen and Bob Morgan, the Hall of Fame’s namesake who died in an offshore racing accident in Key West, Fla., in 2011.
In fact, Sifuentes worked for Morgan at Big Thunder Marine prior to joining Lyons at Central Power and Rigging.
“Ruben and Scott deserve to be in the Hall of Fame—they provide the most amazing service I’ve ever experienced,” said Janssen, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. “I think the world of those guys. They maintain all of my boats and I trust them completely. They complement each other better than any racing team I’ve seen. Plus, they take care of their customers 100 percent and they also help Shootout participants who aren’t their customers.”
Ruben Sifuentes (left) and Scott Lyons of Central Power and Rigging in Kaiser, Mo., have helped prepare dozens of boats for customers to run in the Shootout for many years. Photo courtesy Scott Ruben
According to Lyons, neither he nor Sifuentes ever expected this honor.
“We were quite surprised when Mark Maasen told us the good news,” said Lyons, a Lake of the Ozarks native who has participated in the top-speed event a few times but prefers to focus on making sure his clients’ boats are ready to run. “We’ve both been around this event for a long time, Ruben even longer than me because of his involvement with Bob Morgan and Big Thunder. But all we’ve ever worried about was taking care of customer boats not promoting ourselves or our company’s involvement.”
Lyons said it’s hard to believe how much the event has grown and how fast the boats are going nowadays on the three-quarter-mile course.
“I remember when 100 mph was a big number,” he said with a laugh. “This event is at a whole other level nowadays—it’s turned into a worldwide event, too, not just a national one. It brings in a ton of people, it has a significant economic impact and it raises a ton of money for charity. It’s turned into a weeklong affair with the parties, the poker run and everything else going on. It is pretty wild to think about. It’s definitely one of our busiest times of the year.”
Teichman, who owned Shooters 21 when the property was sold for development and the event was picked up by Duggan and moved to Captain Ron’s, also can’t believe how large the event has become.
“The Shootout wasn’t that big of event when I first bought Shooters 21; it was a weekend race, but not a whole lot more than that,” said Teichman, who resides in Las Vegas and never expected to be inducted into the event’s Hall of Fame. “Once it became a fundraiser for the fire departments and the stations got more involved, it started to take off and it began to benefit a lot of businesses at the lake as well. It is incredible how much it’s grown. It’s huge for the lake and it’s huge for the charities.”
For many years at Shooters 21—the original host venue for the Shootout—the venue’s John Teichman enjoyed the show with his wife, Debby. Photo courtesy Debby Boone
Teichman said he remembers when the event moved into the national spotlight thanks to the involvement of Anheuser-Busch followed by the spotlight cast on it by Powerboat magazine. So he fully understands why Missouri Eagle is being recognized as well this year.
According to Duggan, the family owned business that’s been distributing Anheuser-Busch products since 1939 has been the No. 1 supporter of the Shootout since he’s been involved with the event.
“The team at Missouri Eagle was a big reason we were able to take this event from a fundraiser for the fire departments into a significant fundraiser for the entire community,” Duggan said. “They’ve been extremely helpful and cooperative throughout the years. Without their support, I don’t think we’d be able to continue to raise the amount of money that we do each year.”
Gordon, another veteran from the Shootout days at Shooters 21, said he was surprised when he received the call from his friend and fellow Hall of Famer, Carrie Sixkiller, about being honored this year. The former offshore racer and retired Kansas firefighter who now lives in Port Richie, Fla., has participated in the Shootout almost every year since 1995. After recently selling his One Vision Racing Active Thunder V-bottom, which he’d run in the Shootout many times, he competed in last year’s event in a “borrowed boat”—a 26-foot Corsa that he throttled and Ernie Pollock drove to win the American Power Boat Association A-Class national championship in 2004. His top speed in the 26-footer in 2021 was 87 mph.
“It was pretty cool last year to make a few runs in my friend Steve Miklos’ 26-foot Corsa,” said Gordo, who unfortunately had to take a couple years off from the Shootout after suffering a massive brain hemorrhage while driving a fire truck in 2007. “I have some amazing memories from the Shootout, starting with my first one. I ran 71 mph to win my class in a 23-foot Regal Velocity powered by a 454 Mag engine. The Shootout was my first taste of racing and was a big reason I got more into the sport since the new APBA Factory 1 and Factory 2 classes started a couple of years later. That’s when I joined up with a friend of mine, Brad Harrington (another Shootout Hall of Famer), and got a 25-foot Active Thunder to go race in the Great Lakes Grand Prix.”
A veteran participant in the Shootout, Mike “Gordo” Gordon ran a 26-foot Corsa to a top speed of 87 mph in last year’s event. Photo by Pete Boden
The rest was history as “Gordo,” as his friends call him, got bit by the bug up until his life took the dramatic turn in 2007. Gordon, who missed the Shootout in 2007 and 2008 after suffering the brain injury—“I call it blew a fuse,” he said—returned in 2009 and has been a part of it ever since.
“I always look forward to going to the shootout—I know so many people at the lake because I grew up going out there—but I was surprised when Carrie told me they were recognizing me,” he said. “The lake has a special place in my heart because so many of the firefighters from out there supported me after my injury. I’m super impressed with what the Shootout has turned into with the Make-A-Wish Foundation rides, the RC boat shootout and much more. The event has such an extraordinary impact on this community. There really is nothing else like it.”
Last but not least, the trio that has brought a ton of consistency to the most important part of the two-day top-speed competition—the end-of-the-course radar trap—is now part of the Hall of Fame. The Wagners and Laffoon have been instrumental in recording accurate readings of the boats and relaying the speeds quickly to the broadcast booth and registration officials.
“We take the job very seriously, even though we have fun at the same time,” said Toni Wagner, who has been manning the radar gun with her husband for close to 15 years—Laffoon joined the team a few years later. “We got involved with the Shootout because of the impact it provides to this community. It’s remarkable how many charities benefit from the event. All three of us feel strongly about supporting the events that support this community.”
The trio who handles radar gun operations from a bluff above the Shootout course is not afraid to have a good time when there’s a break in the action. Photo by Todd Taylor/Todd Taylor Images
When asked if she has a favorite memory from sitting at the top of the bluff watching hundreds of boats finish their runs on the course below, Wagner didn’t hesitate.
“Oh my goodness yes—the first 100-mph pontoon was a real thrill; that was beyond anything we ever imagined,” she said. “The Spirit of Qatar run also was incredible—244 mph was insane in a boat on the lake. There’s no doubt we have the best seat in the house. The Shootout is a heck of an event and it takes an army to put it on. We’re grateful for all of the folks on and off the water who make it happen.”
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