In response to the many years of increased speeds at its event—as well as the recent tragedy in Maryland that took the lives of notable shootout participants Jim Melley and Garth Tagge (read the story)—the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout announced it is shortening its course for the first time in the 28-year history of the popular event in Central Missouri.
Thanks to a 3/4-mile course coming in 2017, the seemingly untouchable 244-mph Lake of the Ozarks Shootout top-speed record set by the Spirit of Qatar team’s Al Ada’aam 96 turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic in 2014 will stand the test of time. Photo by Jimmy Biro
“The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout committee, along with Kendell Little of the GLOC Performance Boat Challenge Shootout and Paul Robinson from the Texas Outlaw Challenge have all agreed that their shootout courses for 2017 will be three-quarters of a mile,” said Ron Duggan, the lead organizer of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. “With concerns over the increased horsepower and speeds of many of the recreational/pleasure boats that attend our events, the group made the decision to follow the lead of organizations such as the NHRA, in shortening the length of the course to continue to provide the safest environment possible for our participants.
“Each year recommendations are made to the board of directors by the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout safety committee which consists of representatives from the water patrol, fire departments, hospital staff, dive teams and the course personnel on ways to improve the safety aspect of the events,” he continued. “We have an impeccable safety record, which we are proud of, but based on all of the recommendations—along with suggestions and concerns from many of the participants themselves—all factor in to the decision that all three Shootout events will use the new 3/4-mile course in 2017. Our goal year in and year out is to provide the safest possible course for these women and men to come and participate and thrill the crowds that come from all over the country, and to make sure that everyone goes home to their families.”
Duggan, who owns Captain Ron’s in Sunrise Beach, said that all records established over the 28-year history of the Shootout will be preserved and that 2017 will mark the start of new records on the new Shootout course.
The GLOC Performance Boat Challenge Shootout will feature a memorial run for Jim Melley and Garth Tagge (shown above at the 2016 event in Grove, Okla.), who died in a boating accident in October. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp
“The Shootout has been the same length for 28 years so it wasn’t an easy decision to make because we’re basically creating an entirely new event,” Duggan said. “We’ve been discussing this idea for a few years as the increased horsepower in these boats has been a real concern. We know people will have to make adjustments to their boats, but in the long run we think this is best for our event and the racers who make this event so special.
“We have a lot of spectators at the event so this change also shortens up the spectator fleet space,” Duggan said. “There’s always been extra room past the finish line that people can use, but I think what will probably happen is that the boats will just stack up deeper. I don’t think it’ll have a major affect on the spectators. Overall, we hope this is a positive thing for all the racers, and that they continue to come and support the Shootout and what it’s all about—the charities.”
Little, the main organizer behind the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees Performance Boat Challenge Shootout in Grove, Okla., is 100 percent on board with the shorter courses. In fact, in 2015, the first year the event took place, it had a 3/4-mile course. Little and company changed the course this year to accommodate the boaters who already worked on setting up their boats for one-mile runs.
“In light of the speeds we’re seeing and the recent tragic loss Garth and Jim, two of the greatest competitors we’ve had in our event’s short history, we’re going back to the shorter course and we’ll be doing a memorial run in their honor in 2017,” Little said. “We’re going to stick with the 40-mph rolling start on our FasTrac course and hope to see even more participants at our third annual event in July.”
According to Jim Nichols, the dedicated organizer behind the Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., his team just heard about the other events’ decision, and is going to consider the change but likely to seek participant input before announcing a decision.
Complete Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Coverage
American Ethanol Takes GLOC Top Gun Ttle, Tagge Edges Mungle for Second Place
Highlights from the 2016 Texas Outlaw Challenge
New One-Mile GLOC Shootout Course Set to Double the Fun
Remembering Their Friends Jim Melley and Garth Tagge