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Flying to the Shootout

By the time you read this, I’ll be on an airplane headed for St. Louis, Mo., which is about two hours and change by car from the Lake of the Ozarks, the site of this weekend’s top-speed Shootout.

OK, so that’s not entirely true. By the time you read this, I’ll be flying to Denver to catch a connecting flight to St. Louis. I live about 25 miles south of San Francisco. This area is serviced by three international airports and every major commercial passenger carrier.

Unfortunately, none of them offer direct service to St. Louis. So I get to turn what should be an easy three-hour flight into something of a seven-hour travel grind—not counting the car ride from St. Louis to the lake—that starts at 5 a.m.

And you know what? I don’t care. (OK, I sort of care as I’ve grown to despise everything about air travel in the past 10 years.) I am lucky. I get to cover what is arguably the greatest event in high-performance boating for Powerboat magazine, as well as speedonthewater.com and boatermouth.com.

I don’t just get to hang out with long-time industry friends. I get to meet and hang out with real go-fast boat enthusiasts, folks who might never own anything beyond a 60-mph 20-footer but truly appreciate exotic creations such as David’s Scott’s Nauti-Marine, a 50-foot Mystic with a couple of 2,000-hp alcohol engines.

And to his unending credit, Scott appreciates them. I’ve seen him spend hours at the docks answering questions from passersby. Same goes for his throttleman, John Tomlinson. Same goes for former Shootout Top Guns Dave Callan and John Cosker. Same goes for all the big names at the event.

Ace photographer Robert Brown is shooting the event for Powerboat, and his photos will support—OK, carry, because we all know that pictures are far better than words—my feature in the next issue of Powerboat. But during the Shootout on Saturday and Sunday, WiFi-allowing I’ll try to post a few updates.

If you see me at the docks—I’ll be wearing a Powerboat shirt of some sort so it should be easy (yeah, right) to spot me—please say hello and introduce yourself. And if you want me to take a look at your ride, whether it’s a 40-foot Skater cat that tops 160 mph or a 20-foot Baja that runs 60 mph, I’ll be happy to check it out. Because while the boats put on the show, there is no show without you. All of you.

The guys in the show get that and, trust me, I get it too.