Most powerboat races were cancelled in 2020 due to… well, you-know-what. The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, the largest unsanctioned boat race in the nation, is still scheduled for this coming weekend, Aug. 29–30. And now a national race organization has announced Lake of the Ozarks will be hosting a second boat race, a new event planned for the first weekend of October.
Offshore At The Ozarks-Cat Edition is a new race scheduled for Oct. 2-3, produced by the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA). The title sponsor is Performance Boat Center. The event has some similarities to Lake Race, the annual powerboat race held at the Lake in May, but it's distinctly different in several ways too.
Lake Race, which had been planned for May, suffered the same fate as every other event in May. Offshore At The Ozarks will be held, like Lake Race, in front of Camden on the Lake Resort, between the 5 and 9 Mile Markers. For this first, inaugural year, however, the number of boats has been limited, so the race will only feature Supercat and Super Stock class raceboats. In years past, those have often been the most crowded and action-packed classes, at Lake Race. Mark Waddington, owner of Performance Boat Center, helped organize Offshore At The Ozarks, and he planned the event to extend across two days, as a way of spreading out the action. "Kind of like a mini-Key West," he said, referencing the annual Key West World Championship power boat races. The Key West races were cancelled this year.
With two days of racing, Offshore At The Ozarks will feature two races for each class on Friday, with finals on Saturday. No official schedule has been published yet, but the regatta permit issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol extends from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, and approximately 3:15 – 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The Lake of the Ozarks has been very publicly "open" during coronavirus shutdowns in 2020, and many local businesses say they've had their best year ever, because of it. Waddington said the ability to actually plan and execute an event at the Lake without worry of it being shut down was a "huge factor" in putting together this race. Racers have already begun signing up, Waddington said, and some have been surprised to learn about the level of normalcy happening here. Some who only ever show up for Lake Race have come to Lake of the Ozarks this summer, he added, just to enjoy some boating.
Normally the annual Fall Harbor Hop happens in October at the Lake, but it too was cancelled this year, and Waddington said that provided an opportunity for Offshore At The Ozarks. He also pointed out early October will likely produce ideal weather. Leaves may be just starting to turn, a picturesque background to pair with pleasant temperatures for a weekend of racing.
Two Events, One Big Lake
The race is scheduled for the same weekend as the annual Big Bass Bash, which brings thousands of anglers to Lake of the Ozarks to compete for a “biggest fish” competition. That weekend, the angler with the biggest fish will head home with $100,000, and plenty of other anglers will win thousands.
*UPDATE* The Bash is set for Saturday and Sunday, and while the two events would have overlapped on Saturday, organizers have worked out a solution, in which the race start time was pushed back to 3:15 or 3:30, allowing all anglers to pass through the race course—which will still be set-up, but will not prohibit anglers from passing through. Of the five weigh-in stations for the Bass Bash, Alhonna Resort is right in the midst of the race action, at the 7 Mile Marker, and Point Randall Resort is two miles downstream from it, at the 3 Mile Marker.