This being the 30th anniversary of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, which is a story in and of itself, there were some obvious highlights during this weekend’s illustrious event hosted at Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill in Sunrise Beach, Mo.
Of course the 204-mph top speed recorded by the American Ethanol 51-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran on Saturday was plenty fast to hold up for the overall Top Gun winner. Don Onken’s 51-footer, which was driven by Tony Battiato of Big Thunder Marine and throttled by Mystic owner and Shootout Hall of Famer John Cosker, hit the same speed it ran last year on the new three-quarter-mile course. Unfortunately for the spectators on hand this year, Onken and company opted not to run on Sunday after one of the boat’s four engines lost a blower belt issue at the end of the 204-mph run on Saturday afternoon.
But easily the biggest story of the day on Sunday was the top speed reached by Jim Schultz and Mike Faucher in Factory Billet, an Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats 51 GTX powered by twin flexible fuel 1,950-/1,650-hp turbocharged Factory Billet engines. The teammates ran down the course at an impressive 162 mph, which was one mph faster than the speed the team ran in 2017.
“We went in conservatively due to the fact of yesterday’s run in the crosswinds and whatever, so we hit midcourse at a little less than three-quarter throttle trying to get through that transition point where the wind threw us yesterday,” Schultz said after making the pass early in the day in nearly the same conditions as Saturday. “Once we got through it, we felt a little better about halfway down the course, so we opened it up all the way. When we went through the gates, I saw 163 mph—although we weren’t going straight at the radar so I think we that mph there—but in comparison to yesterday we’re thrilled to death.
“The crosswinds were still prevalent today so we were on the fence if we were even going to run because of how out of shape we got yesterday,” he continued. “We figured we’ve come this far, we’ve got to at least try. So our theory was to go into it conservatively, because yesterday we went wide open right from the start. I mean the thing hooked up—we were midcourse at 155 when the boat turned sideways on us. We would have been well into the mid to upper 160s, possibly even 170. Knowing what we had yesterday and the wind conditions being what they were, we wanted to hit it more conservatively. Today’s run was so smooth. The boat did nothing weird— it never bumped, jumped, bounced one time. The boat is awesome.”
The Wake Effects 48-foot MTI reached a top speed of 151 mph on Sunday along the three-quarter-mile course.
Another team that was pleased with the improvements it made from Saturday to Sunday was Wake Effects. Owned and driven by Rusty Rahm and throttled by Jeff Harris, the team’s 48-foot MTI catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 1650 engines upped its top speed from 148 mph to 151 mph on Sunday’s final run of the Shootout. Rahm and company also wowed the crowd on each day of the top-speed contest when they “raced” the stunt plane that put on its own aerobatic show during an intermission in the racing on Saturday and Sunday.
“Now that was fun—I’ve never raced a plane before,” Rahm said. “That was definitely a highlight of all the Shootouts I’ve been a part of. Seeing an airplane out your window running next to you is pretty darn cool. I love this event, I really do. To me, it’s all about the charities, the kids and the fire departments. I had the opportunity to meet Chief Dennis Reilly of the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District today, and that was a real treat. And then last night at the Shootout auction at Camden on the Lake, we raised more than $160,000, which was absolutely incredible. That’s what it’s all about right there.”
The H.P. Mafia Skater ran an impressive 148 mph on Sunday during the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.
While several competitors weren’t able to produce a faster speed than they recorded on Saturday, some teams made the necessary adjustments to gain that extra mph (or more). Local performance boater Anthony Smith Jr., saw the top speed in the H.P. Mafia Skater Powerboats catamaran climb from 146 mph to 148 mph.
A lot of outboard-powered catamarans—and there were many that participated this year—saw some gains in top speed on Sunday.
First-time Shootout competitor Billy Moore of Florida upped the 114-mph pass he did on Saturday in the Big Thunder Marine 32-foot Fountain Powerboats catamaran powered twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines to 119 mph.
Billy Moore ran the new 32-foot Fountain catamaran to a top speed of 119 mph on Sunday.
“Man that was fun—I had a great time here this year,” said Moore, who was part of the crew for the Spirit of Qatar Mystic cat that ran a mind-blowing 244 mph to claim the overall Top Gun trophy in 2014. “It was nice to be able and come out and run faster today and put up a good number for the team at Fountain and Big Thunder Marine.”
Another solid top-speed gain came when Taylor and Randy Scism, the daughter-father team in an MTI 340X cat powered by twin Verado 400R engines, improved this top speed from 114 to 116 mph. It was clear the owner of MTI—the original Shootout champion from 1989—was extremely proud of his daughter as they stood on stage this afternoon accepting their class-winning award.
Sponsored by WIA Marine Insurance, the CR Racing Doug Wright cat reached 119 mph on Sunday.
The CR Racing team of Casey Boaz and Rob Unnerstall also were pleased with their top speed on Sunday after they improved their top speed in their 32-foot Doug Wright canopied catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS engines from 116 mph on Saturday to 119 mph on Sunday.
In conclusion, the event was an overwhelming success this year. Between the two days of top-speed fun to Super Cat Fest, the Wish on a Ride day at Captain Ron’s, the RC boat shootout, the treasure hunt, Friday’s poker run, the welcome party at Performance Boat Center, the Bob Morgan Memorial Hall of Fame ceremony and much, much more, the 30th anniversary is going to be one to remember.
Adorned with their custom-painted American flag helmets, which they received as Christmas gifts from their children, Tiffany and Mark Maasen ran 75 mph on Sunday in ‘Merica, their 34-foot Nor-Tech center console.
“This event is incredible,” said four-time Top Gun champion Don Onken. “We like to support the Shootout and we like having so many people watch our boat. We keep coming back because we know what kind of impact this event has on the lake and we want to help put on a good show.”
And we want you—Mr. Onken and everyone else who continues to support this one-of-a-kind event—to continue to return to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout for the next 30 years.