For more than 20 years, the Lake Of The Ozarks Spring Harbor Hop has been a time-honored tradition for boaters in Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks and those from outside of the area as it signals the start of another season on one of the country’s most popular waterways.
What’s not always guaranteed for the run, which was sponsored by The Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau, Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association and the Lakes Waterfront Restaurants, is good weather. This year, fortunately, that worked out great for the impressive variety of boats that showed up in full force for the event.
While there was really no way to know whether any of the boats featured in photographer Jeff Helmkamp’s images in the slideshow below were just out for a weekend cruise or actually trying to gather poker hand cards at any of the 40-plus sponsoring restaurants and marinas along the lake’s main channel and the Big Niangua and Gravois arms, it’s clear that the mix of boats—center consoles, cats and V-bottoms both old and new—on the lake was cool to see.
Check out the slideshow above for more of Jeff Helmkamp’s images from the Spring Harbor Hop.
Brett Manire of Performance Boat Center said the first Saturday of May was like a holiday weekend for the Osage Beach, Mo., dealership and service center. Judging by the the Spring Harbor Hop turnout and expectations for this coming weekend’s Spring Fun Run hosted by Performance Boat Center, Manire—and everyone at Lake of the Ozarks for that matter—is pretty certain that the lake is going to be insane through the end of the summer.
MTI’s Taylor Scism, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Sunday, enjoyed the run with her family in the company’s first 50-foot luxury performance center console powered by five Mercury Racing 450R engines and she agreed with Manire.
“The Harbor Hop was fun and pretty low key,” said Scism, who is looking forward to a busy season on the lake with many new-boat deliveries on the horizon.
The Wentzville, Mo., company’s radical 50-footer made its debut during the MTI Owners Fun Run in the Florida Keys in March and was in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., for the past couple of weeks for the inaugural Super Cat Fest West and the ever-popular Desert Storm Poker Run before making its way back east to the lake.
Loren Peters of Kansas City, Mo., decided to join the fun in the 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran he campaigns in the Super Stock class—mainly as a means to break in his new Mercury Racing 300 XS engines.
“We decided to have some fun while breaking in the new motors,” Peters said. “We have to put five hours on them before they go out of break-in mode so we figured why not run it in the Harbor Hop. Jordan (Gumm, Peters’ fiancé) drove. She loved it. She has no fear.”
Peters laughed and shared a picture of the two of them in the cockpit (at right).
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