OSS: Lake of the Ozarks preview

Offshore Super Series Power Boat Race Brings Championship to Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. - Hurtling through the water at speeds up to 185 mph, some of the world's fastest boats will compete for the title...

Offshore Super Series Power Boat Race Brings Championship to Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. - Hurtling through the water at speeds up to 185 mph, some of the world's fastest boats will compete for the title of National Champion at the Horny Toad Offshore Super Series National Championship Power Boat Race, Sept. 27-30 at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks. In conjunction with the race, a full array of concerts, parties and other events also are planned, with most of the land-based activities taking place at the Horny Toad Entertainment Complex in Lake Ozark.

"Area business owners have been wanting to bring a sanctioned power boat race to the Lake of the Ozarks for a long time," says power boat racing fan and race promoter Merlyn Vandervort, owner of the Horny Toad Entertainment Complex. "To think that we were able to get the national championships here is just phenomenal. It's second only to the world championships that will be held at Destin, Florida, in November."

Vandervort worked for more than a year to bring the highly acclaimed race to the Lake. His efforts were assisted by five-time world champion and six-time national champion power boat racer Dave Scott, owner of Sunrise Beach-based Nauti Marine and captain of the Budweiser Select Offshore Race Team. Vandervort and Scott negotiated with the Offshore Super Series Power Boat Racing Association, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development and growth of offshore power boat racing, and ultimately received approval to bring the national championship race to the Lake of the Ozarks.

"This race is a big plus for the Lake and for Missouri," Scott says. "These are large events, especially the national championship race, so we'll see a large number of participants and also a lot of people coming from all around the state and beyond Missouri, too. A lot of people follow the teams and the sport, so local businesses should be pretty busy over the weekend."

Vandervort believes the event could attract 30,000-plus visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks. "Between the power boat race and the Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest which will be held in mid-September, it should be a great month for the area," he says. Notes Jim Divincen, executive director of the Tri-County Lodging Association, "We are absolutely thrilled that several large business owners here at the Lake have been able to secure a national championship power boat race, something I don't believe we've ever had before. The Tri-County Lodging Association board of directors, through their financial commitment, is excited to be part of such a prestigious national championship race. It will result in millions of dollars of economic impact for the Lake area from the racers, teams, visitors and local residents during our shoulder season."

Open daily, the Race Village (or "Dry Pits") at the Horny Toad is the staging area where the teams will set up their boats, trailers and equipment. Here, pass-holders and media can mingle with the drivers and their crews, get autographs and photos, see the boats up close and purchase team-approved racing gear. "One of the things we enjoy most at any race is representing Anheuser-Busch and Bud Select and mingling with the locals, getting to know each other," Scott says. "That's a big part of any event."

Other activities will include a Pre-Race Party, 6:00-10:00 p.m., Sept. 27, and a Sponsor Appreciation Party, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Sept. 28, both to be held at Jeremiah's Nightclub for VIP pass holders, drivers and sponsors. The Horny Toad VIP Hospitality Area will be open 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Sept. 29-30. Concerts at the Horny Toad Amphitheatre will feature Hotel California at 10:00 p.m., Sept. 28, and Liverpool at 9:00 p.m. Sept. 29 followed by a fireworks display. Each night, the public is invited to enjoy live music at the Horny Toad, 8:00 p.m.-midnight.

On Saturday morning, Sept 29th visitors can watch the teams testing, then at 1pm, the Pacific Offshore Powerboat Association (POPRA) boats will run a bracket class race. Speed Bracket racing allows anyone with a boat that goes over 65mph to join the race. Local hotrods are encouraged to participate in this no entry fee, $25,000 purse race. For more info about racing, go to www.pacificoffshore.com. Then from 3pm to 5:00 p.m. the teams will be allowed to test again. On Sept. 30, the Offshore Super Series championship races will be held from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

"These races are like NASCAR on the water, with 30 to 40 cockpit-style professional race boats in eight classes, racing on the Lake on up to a 100- mile course," says Vandervort. "It's extremely exciting and the water can get pretty rough." The course itself is six miles, between the 6 and 9 Mile Markers. Racers will run up to 16 laps depending on the boat class.

The evening of Sept. 30, to celebrate the event, Head East and the Little River Band will perform live in concert at the Horny Toad Amphitheatre, 8:00 p.m.-midnight, with a fireworks show at 9:15 p.m.

Two admission levels will be available for the Championships. The General Admission Weekend Pass will be $60 per person, and will include entrance to the race, the Race Village and all concerts at the Horny Toad and Shady Gators. The all-inclusive VIP Pass will be $1,000 per couple or $600 per person and will include VIP parking and seating, admission to the VIP Hospitality Suite and main upper level balcony to watch the race, entrance to the race and Race Village, admission to VIP parties plus two logo shirts and hats. Children 12 and under will be admitted free. Passes are available at the Horny Toad and Shady Gators or through www.ticketmaster.com.

Area lodging venues will offer discount rates for the event, including The Lodge of Four Seasons, The Resort at Port Arrowhead, The Country Club Hotel & Spa, the Baymont Inn and Robin's Resort.

"Getting ready for this race has really been a good community effort," Vandervort says. "We've gotten a lot of help and support from a lot of great people." Adds Scott, "Merlyn and his crew have done a tremendous job preparing for the race, with area fire rescue people and so many others pitching in to make sure it's a good, safe event. We're thrilled the Lake will be having this race and that we can participate in it. We plan on being very competitive and putting on a good show."

For more information about the Horny Toad Offshore Super Series National Championship Power Boat Race, visit www.toadcove.com. For information about Lake area lodging, dining, shopping, attractions and events, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800- FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the Bureau's web site at www.funlake.com.

-credit: www.offshoresuperseries.com

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