Lake of the Ozarks Shootout 2024

By Christy Wagner, Editor

Photos Courtesy of Retired Osage Beach Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Dorhaurer, george denny photography ©, Jeff HelmKamp with, and the Lake Ozark Fire Protection District

In case you missed it last week, here are some quick, key takeaways and highlights from our Shootout & Shootout Offshore 101 e-Newsletter!

  • The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, which has always been an unsanctioned boat race, was established and officiated in the summer of 1989 by four local fire departments. The first-ever Lake of the Ozarks’ offshore powerboat race (what was recently renamed Shootout Offshore and formerly Lake Race/LOTO Powerfest) took place in the fall of 1993.
  • The purpose of the Shootout has always been to race boats and raise money for local first responders or non-profit organizations. Although the proceeds from Shootout Offshore will now help support the Shootout’s many recipients, the mission of this race has always been to draw tourism to the Lake of the Ozarks and to create another big event on an otherwise slow weekend, a.k.a. the weekend after Memorial Day.
  • The Shootout’s winners are classified by overall top speed and variables such as being differing forms of catamarans, vee bottoms, pontoons, center consoles, electric boats, personal watercrafts (PWC), and more. At Shootout Offshore, more than one boat (often several boats) race alongside one another in unison. The boats that are racing together are not always competing against one other, as more than one class can run at the same time as another. Shootout Offshore’s 12 winning classes are categorized by first, second, and third place across a series of nearly a dozen groups.
  • The Shootout takes place during the third week of August each year. In addition to being referred to as the Shooter’s Shootout, today’s Shootout was also previously called the Lake Rescue Shootout and it began as a 1-mile racecourse in front of Shooters 21 (at the 21-mile mark of the Main Channel), and it was relocated in 2008 to Captain Ron’s at the 34.5-mile marker and operates over a shortened ¾-mile course. Since the 1990s, offshore racing at the Lake of the Ozarks has taken place between both spring and fall (2024’s races will take place on May 31st-June 1st). The offshore races originally took place at the same location as the Shootout–at Shooters 21–but this event is currently held at the 7-mile-marker and hosted by Shady Gators.
  • The Shootout is the world’s largest unsanctioned boat race. An unsanctioned race means that there is no governing body in place to oversee and mandate certain standards, or to ensure that racers follow specific rules and regulations to participate. Conversely, the Shootout’s racecourse is regatta permit approved and manned by many patrol boats and volunteers, including units from the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Water Patrol Division and members of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Shootout itself has its own parameters, such as abiding by a maximum speed through the Start Box, having a marine band radio to communicate with the Start Boat, a functioning kill switch, helmets and personal floatation devices, and their vessel must be a minimum length of 22 feet, or the racer is disqualified. In recent news, Shootout Offshore has partnered with Powerboat P1 for the 2024 race season. Powerboat P1 is backed by UIM/APBA sanctioning, which means that representatives from Europe will be present to ensure all safety requirements are in place to meet international standards for racer and spectator safety. With the chance of becoming a national and/or world-class champion, this point-based, sanctioned race brings with it the biggest, fastest, and loudest boats with racers from Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and, of course, the United States.

Here’s your call to action: Watch this spring and summer as history continues to rapidly collide with the beauty of progress—and at the speed of the world’s fastest powerboats—at the Shootout and Shootout Offshore’s races in 2024.