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Commentary: Generosity And Goodwill Behind Offshore At The Ozarks

When it comes to go-fast boating event planning and production, no entity does more than Performance Boat Center in Osage Beach, Mo. By late June this year, the full-service multi-brand dealership on the shores of the Lake of the Ozarks had hosted its Spring Fun Run, the annual Cigarette Owners Rendezvous and the inaugural Mercury Racing Outboard Only Fun Run. In August, Performance Boat Center once again took the role—and all that entails including hosting its signature Shootout Welcome Party—of title sponsor for the 32nd annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.

Taking first-place Saturday and second-place overall in the Super Stock class last this weekend at Offshore At The Ozarks-Cat Edition, was icing on the cake for the team at Performance Boat Center. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

A couple of Friday’s ago, Performance Boat Center hosted a new MTI Fun Run that attracted 20 boats. Last weekend, the dealership hosted and sponsored the Offshore Powerboat Association Offshore At The Ozarks-Cat Edition event, which was headquartered at the Camden On The Lake Resort. This Saturday, the outfit wraps up its event season with its annual Fall Fun Run.

With the exception of Offshore At The Ozarks, all of this year’s events had been on the PBC roster and planned for since early 2020. So why did the dealership add yet another event, much less an offshore race in a season that most competitors and fans would rather forget, with less than two months to make it happen?

Because Performance Boat Center co-owner Mark Waddington wanted to. For the fans. For the racers. For the Lake of the Ozarks community.

“Honestly, there hadn’t been a race for people around to attend and enjoy,” he said. “With such short notice and the permit process, getting all the classes involved would have been too much. So we picked the classes that we thought would pull in the biggest crowd of fans and teams within the limits of our permit.

“What made us really happy was that all the racers who committed to be here a month ago came and raced—there weren’t any no-shows,” he continued. “And there were teams like Dependable that said ‘maybe’ and showed up. In one weekend, the teams were able to get in three races.”

Waddington and company had expected to have to charge racers an entry fee, something OPA did not do for last month’s Crystal Coast Grand Prix in Morehead City, N.C. Thanks to a few generous Performance Boat Center clients, those fees were covered for Offshore at the Ozarks.

In the same spirit of generosity and goodwill, the crane company that handled getting raceboats in and out of the water provided its services no charge for two full days.

“A lot of people stepped up to the plate to make this event happen,” said Waddington.

Still, the event cost between $50,000 and $60,000 to produce and Performance Boat Center footed much of the bill.

Though it would have to fit within existing event schedules, Waddington has not ruled out the possibility of making the race, whether it happens in October or not, an annual happening.

“We don’t know about that right now,” he said. “But if it fit into our schedule and the OPA schedule—we already have a race at the lake—and it made sense? Maybe.

“Maybe if we moved the dates—I don’t know,” he added. “We just enjoyed hosting this race.”

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