Aquatic rockets such as American Ethanol and Factory Billet aside, nothing wows the fans in the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout spectator fleet more than a pontoon boat scooting down the three-quarter-mile course. The pontoon classes are among the most popular in the Central Missouri event, set for August 28-28 this year, and Brad Rowland of Illinois is the undisputed king of the pontoon ranks.
Brad Rowland is coming back with his 25-foot South Bay for what he hopes will be another record-setting pontoon-boat performance at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout this weekend. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Sidelined with steering issues in the 2020, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Bob Morgan Memorial Hall of Famer—Rowland was inducted in 2019—will return this year in his South Bay 25-footer dubbed Tooned In. The boat is powered by triple Mercury Marine ProMax 300X outboard engines, each producing 400-plus hp, set up with a TrimSync system.
“I have a new steering system,’ said Rowland. “I just got new props on Friday. I haven’t tested yet.”
In 2017, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout committee shortened the course from one mile to its current length. Rowland set the three-quarter-mile course record of 112 mph—just two miles per hour off his full-mile course record—in 2019. Though Rowland said he hopes to top his 112-mph, he’s not sure what competition he’ll have.
“I haven’t heard of any yet,” he said. “But you never know.”
Rowland is readying his 1,200-plus-hp ride for competition.