The Shootout is the most-attended boating event at Lake of the Ozarks: tens of thousands of boaters line the race course in a miles-long flotilla that goes three tiers deep. When the race ends, boaters head home or to a Lakefront restaurant for dinner and drinks, and with that mass movement of boats, idle speed is the only speed that keeps the water from getting rough. (For boaters, idle speed, after watching and cheering for 200+ mph boats, is the ultimate exercise in willpower!)
So, the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Water Patrol Division enforces a No-Wake Zone after the Shootout, to keep boaters safe and ensure everybody gets where they’re going! After feedback from 2017, the Patrol has altered the duration and distance of the No-Wake Zone. It’s a big change, for sure, but where some see obstacles, others see opportunity! Some boaters are planning an extended flotilla near the race course once the Shootout ends. Others know the spots not too far away where they can quickly idle over, enjoy food and drink, let the boat traffic clear out, and wait out the No-Wake. Here are the ways the No-Wake Zone has changed, and some ideas on what to do when the race is over…
1. The No-Wake Zone normally extends from the 31.5 Mile Marker to the 36 Mile Marker. When does it begin? Well, the race is slated to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Last year, No-Wake Zone enforcement began at 8 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday, and although the Water Patrol says it will begin enforcing No-Wake 30 minutes before the race starts, the fan flotilla begins to form hours before the race begins, so boaters should slow to an idle as they approach the race course to link up.
2. The No-Wake Zone has NOT been changed for Sunday. The standard No-Wake Zone will extend from the 31.5 Mile Marker (“The Four Corners”) to the 36 Mile Marker (about one mile upstream of the Hurricane Deck Bridge). It will begin 30 minutes (or more) before the race to 30 minutes after the race. Watch for MSHP Water Patrol boats to be posted at the start of the enforcement area.
3. The No-Wake Zone on Saturday has been given extended hours, and, beginning at noon, will be lengthened significantly. From 30 minutes before the race until noon on Saturday, it will be the normal No-Wake Zone: from the 31.5 Mile Marker to the 36 Mile Marker. The Normal No-Wake Zone area between the 31.5 Mile Marker and the 36 Mile Marker will end at the normal time: 30 minutes after the race. But, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, an Extended No-Wake Zone will stretch downstream from the 31.5 to the 21 Mile Marker.
Translation: if you leave the race and are headed downstream on Saturday, it'll be idle speed all the way to the 21 Mile Marker, until 7 p.m. But if you're headed upstream from the race, that No-Wake Zone will end 30 minutes after the race ends, from the 31.5 Mile Marker up. And if you're skipping the race and just headed out for some afternoon/evening boating... well, be ready to idle between the 21 and 31.5 Mile Markers.
Here's a map detailing the No-Wake Zone for Shootout 2018...
If you've got a long ways to go, it may be better to find somewhere to eat and hang out until the No-Wake restriction ends on Saturday. Here's a full rundown of where to go:
What To Do/Where To Go
1. NOTE: If you’re headed downstream on Saturday, there’s not really any way to beat the extended No-Wake Zone, if you really want to see much of the race. So just plan to idle.
2. DOWNSTREAM HOTSPOTS: Don’t like the idea of idling for 10+ miles? There are some great places to eat and drink on the water! These are, of course, within the No-Wake Zone, so you’ll have to idle to get there, but it’ll cut down on your idle time.
- Captain Ron’s Bar & Grill is the obvious choice. It’s the host of the Shootout: the race happens literally in the restaurant’s “back yard.” There, you can meet racers on the docks, cruise the Vendor Village, and order food and drinks all along the beach, or inside. www.captainronsatthelake.com
All roads lead to Captain Ron’s during the annual world-famous Shootout, but owner Ron Dugga…
- Bulldog’s Beach House. At the 33 Mile Marker. The “Stuffed Burgers” are popular, and there’s often live music, and plenty to eat and drink. www.bulldogsbeachhouse.com
Sometimes after a long, hot day on the water, you just need a huge stuffed burger and a cold…
- Chesnie’s Cafe. At the 33 Mile Marker - same cove as Bulldog’s. Folks love their burgers - a popular little spot to eat and drink! Find them on Facebook.
- The Fish & Co. In Linn Creek Cove’s “Possum Hollow”, off the Four Corners. A colorful hotspot with live music, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and lots of beverages. www.thefishandcompany.com
- Larry’s On The Lake. On one of the Four Corners: at the beginning of the Niangua Arm. Remodeled for 2018, with lots to eat and drink, and often hosting live music too. Find them on Facebook
- Nautifish Rum Bar. At the 3.3 Mile Marker of the Niangua Arm. Turn right at the Four Corners and skip the extended No-Wake Zone! Get on plane, and head up the Niangua Arm and you’ll find Nautifish Rum Bar just a few miles away! www.nautifishrumbar.com
- Miller’s Landing. At the 28 Mile Marker. Take a break after idling several miles downstream, to enjoy food and drinks here! Dog-friendly, and known for good food! www.themillerslanding.com
3. UPSTREAM HOTSPOTS: There are pros and cons to joining the upstream side of the race. Con: you catch the tail-end of the race boats’ runs, which means you see them slowing down rather than speeding up. Pro: if you want to head upstream, you can get out of the No-Wake Zone faster, and still have some great places to eat. If you prefer the “less crowded” option, head upstream and check out…
- Bear Bottom Resort. They’re at the 38 Mile Marker, so idle your way to the 36 and then just a quick hop to Bear Bottom. The nachos are legendary, and the Miami Vice is the signature drink, but there’s plenty more than that to fill your belly and wet your whistle! www.bearbottomresort.com
On the water’s edge at the 38MM, tucked into a cove at the edge of one of the Lake’s most pi…
- Big Dick’s Halfway Inn. At the 47 Mile Marker. A wacky-but-popular spot for many, with an abundant menu loaded with double-entrende and featuring burgers, steaks, pizzas and drinks of course. www.bigdickshalfwayinn.com
- Red Fox Bar & Grill. At the 50 Mile Marker. A bit of a jaunt from the Shootout, but if your house/condo isn’t far from the Shootout, it’ll make for a nice run upstream! The menu features sandwiches, burgers, salads, and daily specials, and there’s an outdoor Tiki Bar too. www.redfox50.com