by Christy Wagner, Editor
33rd Annual Official Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Program Guide
Of all of the cities and states and countries and continents across this star-speckled planet, here we are in Central Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks. Whether by choice or mere chance, you, as a reader, are a part of a very small group of primary, secondary, leisurely-traveling-or-blissfully-curious people who are drawn to our small, tightly woven tourist community. Maybe you’re a re-settler, like me, who left another city and state behind many, many moons ago. Maybe you’re one of the unicorns, like my children, who are lucky enough to have been born and raised in a place that, for many, is just a weekend dream or an eventual retirement goal.
In a world full of takers, it’s a beautiful thing to happen upon a giver. In a “me first” society, it’s an incredibly rare feat to be surrounded by fellow humans who see the importance of dedicating their life’s work and soul’s energy toward the betterment of their own community.
This, dear reader, is the Lake of the Ozarks.
Between the hundreds of volunteers who make charitable fundraising events like the Annual Shootout possible with every passing year, to the local business owners who could otherwise exert their time and energy into their own pursuits or pockets – they continue to give. Between the many board members across the Lake Area whose time and energy is spent toward writing grants and allocating funds for non-profits, whose dedicated purpose is safeguarding our most vulnerable, these individuals continue to give. Between the poker runs and fishing tournaments and lake races and large social gatherings, we do things like raise $400,000.00 in one fell swoop for child welfare activists and animal shelters and fire departments and families in need and camps for people of all ages and disabilities.
This, dear reader, is the Annual Shootout.
In what began over three decades ago as an event in which many local boaters participated simply to establish who had the fastest boat, the Annual Shootout has since evolved into one of the largest fundraising events (if not the largest) at the Lake of the Ozarks. The Shootout donates to non-profits like Raising Hope and Citizens Against Domestic Violence and The Changing Table; organizations that keep our low-income families clothed, our abused citizens safe, and every single one of our babies diapered. Behind each and every one of these charities is a collection of selfless men and women who see the importance of dedicating their life’s work and soul’s energy toward the betterment of our community – toward individuals, like you and I, who sometimes just need a helping hand.
Elizabeth Andrew once said that volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. Those words ring true as I see individuals like Captain Ron Duggan continuously giving his time and energy to make sure that the Shootout not only happens every year, but continues to reach record-breaking numbers for our non-profits and emergency first responders. It’s not just one person, but many people who show up despite the heat and risk of disease and outside family commitments. It’s people like the Fraziers, Hedricks, Tripletts and more who make sub-events like the Mini Shootout possible, which raised $10,000.00 last year. It’s our fire departments and registered nurses and police officers who would willingly do things like working overtime, putting out fires, recovering drowning victims and jumping off of a moving vessel to upright an unconscious racer face down in the water – all while being outnumbered by several thousand to one.
So to our volunteers and first responders and generous sponsors and readers alike, thank you. The Lake of the Ozarks needs your giving heart more than you know and your commitment does not go unnoticed. You are seen, every single year, working beneath a blazing hot sun or amid the blowing rain; maintaining the spectator line for the safety of all or packing hundreds of sandwiches for your fellow volunteers. You are seen, giving your all to ensure that our children are safe, our animals have a voice, and our hungry are fed.
You make the Lake of the Ozarks more than just a tourist destination or a red dot on the map of America. You make the Lake of the Ozarks home for us all.