Editor’s note: Follow the crew’s progress starting Wednesday morning (Aug. 25) at 6:20 CST via this Glympse link.
In an effort to set a new record on their home away from home—Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks—Tyler and Lindsey Miller, the owners of the M CON Skater Powerboats catamaran that competes in the Supercat class with support from their Kansas-based M CON underground utility business, are setting out tomorrow morning in their new Skater 368 catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R engines in hopes of breaking the “Dam Challenge.”
Tyler and Lindsey Miller are planning to tackle the Dam Challenge on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks on Wednesday morning in their 36-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran. Photo from the 2021 Skaterfest in Michigan by Peter Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
Originally created by a group of local boaters in 2014 with hopes of getting more boaters to test their ability by driving approximately 188 miles roundtrip from Bagnell Dam to Truman Dam and back, the Dam Challenge is an endurance run that, until tomorrow, hasn’t been challenged in seven years. The original record, which was established at 2 hours, 29 minutes and 49 seconds on Sept. 20, 2014, was set by Missouri natives Tyson and Tristan Garvin, Shane Sherman, Andy Sanders and Michael Donahue in Garvin’s Douglas Marine-built 39-foot Skater V-bottom powered by twin 480-hp Cummins diesel engines and Arneson ASD8 surface drives.
The Millers, who have invited Sherman and a media cohort of Speedonthewater.com’s Jeff Helmkamp and Speedboat Magazine’s Todd Taylor along for the record attempt, are excited to tackle the challenge and are hopeful they can break the mark in another Skater—although their outboard-powered catamaran is a much different style Skater than the diesel-powered inboard V-bottom that set the record in 2014.
“The big factor for why we want to attempt the Dam Challenge is that this is our hometown lake and we thought it might bring added excitement to the Shootout week for us and everyone else in town this week,” said Tyler Miller, who has been thinking about the record ever since he ordered the 36-foot twin 450R-powered Skater more than a year ago. “It’s kind of a cool record that a lot of locals talk about around here. If nothing else, it will be fun to do. You know us—we’re always looking for a good reason to go boating.”
Miller laughed and was quick to point out that there are a lot of things that could go wrong in an endurance run.
“In theory, we should be able to break the record, but you never what can happen in an endurance run like this,” he said. “We could hit some debris or have a mechanical failure. I’m just excited to give it a shot. If we end up not beating the record, at least we got a beautiful boat ride out of it.”
Lindsey and Tyler Miller were thrilled to get their new Skater 368 in mid-June at Performance Boat Center. Photo by Jason Johnson
Sherman, who recalled the 2014 record run as challenging yet fun, said he’s hoping tomorrow’s run renews some interest in the Dam Challenge. He’s also hoping it becomes a steppingstone in his quest to tackle the 1,039-mile Mississippi River Challenge from New Orleans to St. Louis that California performance boat legend Howard Arneson owns the record for at 12 hours, 40 minutes and 50 seconds.
“I feel like a 190-mile run is a good test or a nice pre-runner, if you will, to do a 1,000-plus-mile run,” Sherman said with a laugh. “Seriously tomorrow should be fun. Any time I get to boat with Tyler and Lindsey is fun.”
Sherman added that a representative from MidwestBoatParty.com is going to provide the check-in location and validation at the Warsaw Dam. He also said that based on fuel consumption calculations the boat should be able to complete the run with roughly seven gallons of fuel remaining, which gives them a little leeway in case something goes awry.
“Last time we did the run, we averaged 71.9 mph and reached a top speed of 77.7 mph,” Sherman said. “Our average speed should be much faster in the 368. We’ll have a spare set of propellers and props wrenches with us in case we hit any debris. I don’t foresee much boat traffic on the way there, but we may start getting into some morning traffic on the way back.”
Sherman explained that the Dam Challenge includes a running, LeMans-style start in which the team’s official starter—in this case Lindsey Miller—has to be touching ground at Bagnell Dam when the whistle blows. Once the starter runs to and gets on the boat, the team can head toward Truman Dam, where the starter will again leave the boat to run up from the courtesy docks and touch the ground before getting back in the boat for the return trip. Once back at Bagnell Dam, the starter has to run up and touch the ground to stop the timer.
Sherman plans to share a link tomorrow where anyone interested can track the team’s progress via a GPS tracking system. Speedonthewater.com will add the link to the top of this story and its Facebook page in them morning.
The Millers, who also own a 2021 Cigarette Racing Team 41 Nighthawk with quad Mercury Racing 450R engines, are two of the nicest people you could meet at the lake, make that around the country, so there are sure to be a lot of people pulling for them.
Photo Essay: Miller’s Cigarette 41 Nighthawk And Skater 368 A Perfect Pair
Image Of The Week: Skater Perfection
Up For The Dam Challenge?
Missouri Crew To Establish Lake Of The Ozarks ‘Dam Challenge’ Record
Coverage Of The 2021 Lake Of The Ozarks Shootout
Inside SOTW Mag: The Tyler Miller Interview
M-Con To Run Skater 438 With New Cockpit Pairing This Season
M CON Race Team To Campaign Former WHM Motorsports Skater
Skaterfest Celebrates 10 Years Of Branded Passion
Gallery Of The Week: Faces Of Michigan City
New Deliveries And More Highlights From Performance Boat Center’s Spring Fun Run