Shootout charitable donations accelerated again this year, as the biggest unsanctioned boat race in the nation brought in $400,000 for charities. The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is—by far—the biggest charitable event at the Lake, both in size and in the amount of money raised.
Despite schedule changes and concerns by some that Covid would hurt turnout, the Shootout blasted through its previous fundraising record of $357,000 from 2019, as Race Director Ron Duggan hoisted a pair of giant checks displaying $200,000 each, at the announcement ceremony on Oct. 25. Duggan had a little fun with the announcement, displaying first a solitary $200,000 check—a stunning amount in its own right and what would have been a record-breaking amount merely four years ago—and then revealing a second $200,000 check.
The 2020 Shootout raised $400,000 for charities, the majority of which are in the Lake area. That means the event has raised approximately $2.4 million for charities since it moved to Captain Ron's Bar & Grill in 2008.
The money comes from all sorts of places: ad sales for the Official Shootout Guide, racer entry fees, Shootout event merchandise, and Shootout fundraising events. The largest single source of Shootout charity funds this year, however, was the Super Cat Fest For Kids Shootout Auction. This event was a collaboration between the annual Super Cat Fest and the Shootout, and big-ticket items like diamond pendant propeller necklaces, fully restored classic muscle cars, and luxury Florida vacations helped the auction raise more than $200,000.
Volunteers help make the Shootout happen: from emergency volunteers to race course patrol to parking duty. Duggan gave an extra shoutout to this year's volunteer force, which was cut nearly in half—480 people down from 800 last year—due to Covid concerns. Volunteers work the Shootout on behalf of the charity of their choice. When each volunteer "clocks in," they write down on the clock-in sheet which of the more than two dozen Shootout-selected charities they would like their hours to go to. After the race, all the dollars and hours are totaled up, and the charities are given money in proportion to the hours worked on their behalf. It's an effective way of turning out a massive volunteer force, as local charities encourage supporters to go work on their behalf.
"It is amazing to get to go hand these checks out," Duggan said, when discussing the Shootout at the Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Symposium earlier this month. One of the symposium hosts, Jeff Krantz, mused, "I knew it was a charitable event, but I thought it was [just] a boat race." Krantz said this year he saw in a new way the Shootout's impact on the Lake of the Ozarks community.
Duggan says his two passions in life are coaching basketball (he coaches the Macks Creek High School girls team) and running the Shootout, adding he frequently gets emotional as he hands a check to the hard workers at dozens of charities and non-profits each year. He brings his teenage daughter with him, when he presents those checks: "I want her to see the look on their faces."