Based on pre-registration numbers and attendance from last year’s Baja, Fountain & Donzi Fun Run hosted by Big Thunder Marine in Lake Ozark, Mo., organizers had a good feeling the 2019 event on Lake of the Ozarks would be a hit.
What the Big Thunder Marine team didn’t realize was how many of their customers who don’t own boats from Baja Marine, Donzi Marine and Fountain Powerboats—the companies owned by Iconic Marine Group in Washington, N.C.—would want to participate in last weekend’s event. The response was such that the dealership is working on putting together a customer-focused event—with a to-be-determined date in September—involving boats of all types and sizes.
“Out of 120 registered boats, there were maybe half a dozen that were not Baja, Donzi or Fountain models—the owners all asked and of course we were OK with it,” said Big Thunder Marine’s Ed Champion. “A couple of our customers with new Statement Marine models joined us and I know there was a 27-foot Regal out there—we weren’t going to tell people they couldn’t do it if they weren’t in an Iconic boat. The good news is we found out how many of our customers like doing organized fun runs on the lake.”
Champion said the representation from the Iconic executives was notable as owner Fred Ross and chief operating officer Jeff Harris joined the fun and spoke to the group during the drivers’ meeting. Also with Ross and Harris were Iconic’s Conrad West, Martin Rusin and Billy Moore, who drove the quad Mercury Racing Verado 400R-powered Donzi 44 Icon catamaran and had a great time at the run.
“The event was great,” said Jeremy Anderson, the general manager of Big Thunder Marine who also welcomed the group during the drivers’ meeting. “We had the dinner and packet pickup the night before at the dealership and there was about 300 people here. The day of the run we were blessed with perfect weather and other than a few broken props, it was a great day had by all.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the BFD Fun Run.
Anderson pointed out that Big Thunder’s Tony Battiato and Kyle Foster wrapped up the dealership’s Fountain Powerboats 47 Lighting, which is powered by twin turbocharged Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines, just in time for the fun run, and that Champion piloted the latest Fountain 43 NX center console in the event.
Champion, who has organized a variety of fun runs in the past, said that Big Thunder Marine’s Katie Markway stepped up and handled much of the logistics for the fun run, including coordinating with the food vendors and organizing a liquor permit for the Thursday evening registration party that was hosted at the impressive Big Thunder Marine showroom and service center. Anderson praised Markway for her effort as well.
“We just love seeing our customers use their boats,” Champion said. “Everyone was safe and had a good time. During the drivers’ meeting we had a random girl draw which group would start first based on the brand of boat, and it ended up being Baja, Fountain then Donzi, which is BFD, so that worked out well.”
Editor’s note: Speedonthewater.com will have a story once an official Big Thunder Marine fun run date is determined.