LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — The Lake of the Ozarks region is known for its boating and fishing throughout the season, but there's one event each summer that brings over 100,000 spectators to the area: the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.
What was once a race between local boaters has now become a global event hosted by Captain Ron's Bar & Grill, who advertises the Shootout as the Midwest's largest unsanctioned boat race.
Now in its 26th year, the boat race isn't the only big draw. The Shootout is now nine days of activities, ranging from racing events, including the Shootout itself, to family activities with proceeds helping area charities.Charity is one of the big motivators for the event, in fact: last year the Shootout Committee distributed donations of $115,000 to 22 local charities and local fire departments.This year's charitable giving is expected to exceed last years, and benefits this year include a silent auction, a golf tournament, and Make-a-Wish powerboat rides for kids and families dealing with serious diseases and disabilities.This year's Shootout is also drawing international attention, with the Spirit of Qatar Team entering the race. The team, led by Qatar Marine Sports Federation president Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, plans to race a 50-foot, turbine-powered Mystic catamaran Al Adaa'am 96."The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is something that I have been wanting to enter for some time," Sheikh Hassan told reporters. He stated that he and his team are hard at work prepping the boat for the race and said, "This will be a great chance for us to see what it is truly capable of."
Will Sheikh Hassan beat last year's record speed of 224mph set by the 50-foot catamaran My Wayoperated by Bill Tomlinson?Tomlinson told Boats.com, "If the Sheikh and his team are ready to run, I can’t wait to see what they can do."
The days leading up to the big race, which begins on Saturday, August 23, will have plenty for young and old spectators alike.The schedule kicks off with the 5th Annual Mini Shootout, a race held by Papa Chubby's, on August 17.That same day is the 2014 Shootout Benefit Golf Tournament presented by Old Kinderhook. The event will benefit lake area firefighters and other charities in the Lake of the Ozarks region.For those seeking family fun and entertainment, LakeExpo.com is hosting The Great Shootout Treasure Hunt at Captain Ron's and Buccaneer Bay on August 18. The proceeds from the event will go to the Kids' Harbor Child Advocacy Center, an organization that provides resources to victims of child abuse.
On August 21st, racers and spectators alike can enjoy the PWC Dam Run, presented by Surdyke Yamaha at 9 a.m. Like the other events, the personal watercraft race will also benefit local charities.This year also features a new event, the Lil' Boat & Pontoon Shootout Poker Run. The race is for boats and pontoons 32-feet and under and will happen on the morning of August 19.Yet for most of the Shootout's spectators, the boating is the main draw. The Shootout in the Park (formerly the Shootout Street Party) will give guests the chance to see the boats and mingle with the race teams from noon to 10 p.m. on August 20 in Laurie City Park. Last year's Shootout in the Park drew in over 8,000 people.Finally, the Shootout itself will begin on August 23 and go into August 24, with professional and non-professional class races, drag races and flying performances, with live entertainment on Saturday evening.Visitors to the Shootout can view a full schedule of events on the website at lakeoftheozarksshootout.org.