Lake of the Ozarks Shootout & Shootout Offshore 2024

By Christy Wagner, Editor

In the midst of worldly distractions and oftentimes flagrant disorder, it becomes far more ideal to recede from life’s daily races and live in a realm of meeting our individual needs first.

This does not hold true for the volunteers of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and now, Shootout Offshore.

Sheree Keely, Executive Director for the Citizens Against Domestic Violence (CADV), witnesses, firsthand, what volunteering and advocacy can do for our community.

“Individuals on behalf of the CADV have volunteered their time at the Shootout since at least 2017 when I started with this organization,” explained Keely who can be spotted in the forefront of CADV advocacy at events across the Lake of the Ozarks each year. “Through support and much-needed funding, we provide services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, including victims who have been trafficked. We service the victim and their children, and all of our services are free. Our services include a 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal advocacy, community training, and prevention strategies. The Citizens Against Domestic Violence will celebrate 40 years in 2024.”

So, what does this have to do with the Shootout and Shootout Offshore? It’s very simple, really, as organizations such as CADV can gather volunteers to work the Shootout and Shootout Offshore’s events while keeping track of their hours. Hours are then reviewed by the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Board of Directors for consideration in regard to the total amount that will be distributed back to each volunteer agency. The CADV gives their funds directly to the victims that they serve. Although their organization does receive funding for operations such as running their shelter and paying salaries, the victims that they serve oftentimes leave a dangerous situation with only the clothes on their backs, so helping them financially becomes crucial to helping them break free from a violent relationship or situation.

“We will assist in any way possible,” Keely continued. “We have sold merchandise and aided with traffic control, and although our total hours haven’t been large due to a staffing of 12 which continuously serves approximately 1,000 individuals annually, we wish to support the community that is so supportive of the CADV; therefore, we find the time to be there and truly enjoy doing so!”

Equally as important to the Citizens Against Domestic Violence is the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a not-for-profit organization which creates life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses.

Tiffany Maasen, a direct Make-A-Wish liaison for both Missouri and Kansas, says that their 14-year-long Shootout volunteer duties encompass two days’ worth of events which provide boat rides and overall fun on the water for Make-A-Wish kids and their families. For families traveling more than two hours, they partner with area hotels, Vrbo rentals, and resorts to secure lodging. They also partner with local restaurants and businesses to secure gift cards for their meals. It’s a “care-free day at the Lake,” Maasen says.

With the funds that the Make-A-Wish Foundation raises and redistributes back, Maasen can recall two impactful stories that reaffirm the reason behind their volunteer hours and drive to serve.

“Caitlyn Bishop was a Make-A-Wish recipient in 2017,” explained Maasen. “Her trip gave both Caitlyn and her family a wonderful Disney Cruise where they could focus on just being a family while having a fun time being away from all of the worries that surround having cancer. It also gave her sisters a dream trip to be with their older sister, and that amazing experience gave Caitlyn the recharge that both she and her family needed. She is now in remission and is running her own business here at the Lake of the Ozarks!”

In a world where it is easy to take commonplace luxuries such as our simple eyesight for granted, Maasen recalls a moment where there were no dry eyes on the dock.

“One child was here for a boat ride,” Maasen continued. “He was in a wheelchair, so the family lifted him into a specific boat; one that he had chosen himself. It was the one color that the child could see and loved, and he picked this boat because it was orange. Once in the boat, the family held their son and as soon as the boat started, the child threw his head back and he started to smile. Not just a smile, but a big smile. There was not a dry eye on the dock. His mom explained that due to 23 brain surgeries, her son had not smiled for two years. The family rode together on the boat that day, and the child was smiling widely at the loud roar of the motors. She thanked us over and over for her son’s smile.”

As for 2024, Maasen says that she is looking forward to having more businesses and volunteers from all sides of the Lake help participate this year, and hopes to see the Lake of the Ozarks truly come together as one. 

“More participation means more support for all of the Shootout’s charities and helping people in our community,” Maasen said, in closing. “There can be endless growth and I cannot wait to see where these combined Shootout/Shootout Offshore events take us!”

Traveling a little further upstream, volunteer/coordinator for Northwest Fire, Jan Shireman, says that their volunteer-based fire protection district headquartered in Climax Springs covers 175 square miles. Unlike paid fire department personnel, Northwest Fire’s first responders must also respond to the station before responding to the call.

“We started volunteering in 2010 because we had a fireboat that could help with patrolling along the race course for both the Annual Shootout and Mini Shootout,” explained Shireman. “Our participation over time has evolved just as the event itself has. Each year, we are very active at the Mini Shootout while providing barges and setting up the course, as well as patrolling the race course itself.”

In addition to these duties, Northwest Fire Protection District volunteers also assist with merchandise and raffle sales, along with overseeing RC boat registration. They volunteer however they can and wherever there is a need, says Shireman.

“At the Shootout’s main event, we typically man the docks at Captain Ron’s and are there to keep everyone safe while preventing boaters from mooring where they are not permitted to moor, as well as ensuring that no one interrupts the races,” continued Shireman. “Most of the volunteers for the docks are from our auxiliaries or they are our neighbors. When we first started volunteering at the Shootout, the money we brought in helped support our budget. We had one of the lowest tax rates in the Missouri, so this money was very helpful in allowing us to protect our community. Funds from the Shootout have helped purchase turnout gear and other safety items for our volunteer fire personnel. Two years ago, our fireboat was responding to Ha Ha Tonka State Park to assist at the Mini Shootout when one of its engines failed. We had to borrow a boat for both races that year, and last year, we raised enough funds to refurbish our fireboat and purchase two new four-stroke engines. Without our fireboat, we could not respond to fires within our 175-mile protection area or volunteer at the Shootout.”

In the fourteen years that Northwest Fire has volunteered with the Shootout, they have received an astounding $148,138.00. At the 35th Annual Shootout, they logged 473 volunteer hours across 46 volunteers.

“We are looking forward to adding Shootout Offshore to our volunteer opportunity list, and we are always searching and asking for new volunteers,” Shireman said, in closing. “Anyone who wishes to help us can contact us at the Northwest Fire Protection District.”

Heading northeast to Rocky Mount, there lies a sprawling 125-acre camp which served 1,700 individuals with disabilities last year. Founded in 1969, Wonderland Camp has volunteered at the Shootout since 2019.

“We are a camp for people with disabilities, and we provide services to our campers and respite to caregivers and family members,” explained Mike Clayton, Director of Fund Development & Communications. “Wonderland Camp has given children, teenagers, and adults with disabilities the opportunity to come to camp for over 50 years.”

Existing for the friendships, encouragement, and high-fives, all camp activities are adapted so that everyone can participate. Clayton, a well-known emcee at the Lake of the Ozarks, has volunteered at several Shootout events to raise a total of 26 Shootout hours for Wonderland Camp last year. As to what he looks forward to most with the Shootout acquiring Shootout Offshore in 2024, Clayton’s answer was simple: “We are excited to garner more volunteer hours and opportunities, along with searching for more interested individuals who have a desire to serve alongside us. New camp volunteers are encouraged to reach out via Facebook, Instagram, X, Youtube, TikTok, or at for further information. I can also be reached directly by email at [email protected] or by phone at (573) 280-5648.”

In the heart of Linn Creek, there lies a series of fields that plays host to the largest youth sports organization at the Lake of the Ozarks that brings in approximately 700 children per year – the Lake of the Ozarks Soccer Association (LOSA).

Justin Farrell, President of both LOSA and the Eldon Lake of the Ozarks Soccer Association (ELOSA), has volunteered on Captain Ron’s docks for seven years and with his hours, he has raised approximately $10,000 in dispersed Shootout funds.

“We use the money that we raise from working the Shootout to help support children whose families cannot afford the registration fees,” Farrell explained. “We also use the funds to ensure that we can keep costs down and not raise our prices to account for the current market.”

As for what Farrell is looking forward to most in 2024, he says, “I enjoy my interactions with the dock owners at Captain Ron’s, and with all of the boat owners. Hearing their stories, seeing their celebrations with their families on the docks once they’ve hit a new record – that’s the stuff that makes volunteering worth every second – getting to celebrate with racers and their families.”

To volunteer on behalf of LOSA, please call Farrell at (573) 216-2580.

Last but never least, Stacy Pyrtle, Recording Secretary for the Magic Dragon Trails System and President of the Community Foundation of the Lake, began volunteering at the Shootout last year. In their very first year, they earned a little over $12,000 and Pyrtle’s volunteers can be found on the sign-up sheets for nearly every Shootout event.

“In 2023, Magic Dragon Trails provided traffic control during the Shootout Street Party, assisted at the Shootout for the Shootout Trap Shoot, aided with merchandise sails, and took inventory following the Shootout,” explained Pyrtle. “We also provided boats to flag the no-wake zone on the Saturday of the Shootout’s race weekend and manned the Christmas Tree Lot at Santa Monkey. Our volunteers completed almost 600 hours of service in 2023 and we are looking forward to providing a lot more in 2024.”

The Magic Dragon Trails & Skills Park itself is also a fairly new endeavor to the Lake of the Ozarks with long-term goals of building multi-use recreational trails around the entire Lake Area for walking, hiking, biking, jogging, scooters, one-wheels, and et cetera. Some of the trails will be designed so grade ascent and descent will be at a maximum of 10% while allowing for families to easily walk and push strollers, whereas other portions of the trails system will be designed with more flow and downhill runs for elevated mountain biking and trail running. An extensive trail network will bring year-round tourism and additional jobs to the area, and allow the local community a connected system to area attractions and a free way to exercise while enjoying the beauty of the Lake of the Ozarks.

“With Shootout Offshore now falling under the umbrella of the Shootout itself, we are looking forward to working the Dam Putt-Putt Tournament and adding additional assignments to our roster of Shootout activities,” Pyrtle continued. “In the future and as we add more trails, we hope to host mountain biking, trail running, and endurance races to our list of Shootout activities.”

The Magic Dragon Trails & Skills Park is always looking for volunteers for Shootout-related events, and you can volunteer by visiting their website at, clicking on the ‘Get Involved” tab, and then signing up to volunteer. Private messages can also be sent on the Trails’ Facebook page, or you are welcome to email Pyrtle at [email protected].

With such a varied cast of characters and regardless of the reasoning behind volunteering for the sheer multitude of events that the Shootout plays host to each year, the end goal remains the same: to give more than we take.