American Ethanol won the Top Gun trophy for the fifth year in a row at the 2019 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout boat races in Sunrise Beach. (submitted photo)

by Janet Dabbs
The 50-foot Mystic Catamaran “American Ethanol” was the 2019 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Top Gun for the fifth year in a row. Driver John Cosker and throttle man Tony Battiato hit the fastest speed of the weekend at 201 mph, Sunday, Aug. 25, despite throwing a propeller blade through the hull on a later run. The boat is owned by Don Onken and powered by ethanol. On Saturday, Aug. 24, American Ethanol ran a top speed of 143 mph, due to mechanical problems. The racecourse was shut down early on Saturday due to a drowned spectator.
Catamarans dominated the race course once again. The Performance Boat Center cat, with Ron Szolack and Myrick Coil had 169 mph and 173 mph runs. Bob Bull hit 162 mph in a 52-foot MTI Catamaran. Dave “Magoo” Megugorac ran fourth fastest with a 156-mph run in a DCB 44. The top V-Hull was Ben Robertson, at 143 mph, in a 42-foot Fountain.
The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout is the largest unsanctioned boat race in the United States, named one of the nation’s eight “must-see” boating events, according to Powerboat Magazine. This was the 31st annual Shootout and the ninth year the event was at Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill in Sunrise Beach.
The event raises funds for eight lake-area EMS rescue teams and numerous other charitable organizations. In 2018, $300,000 was raised for 32 different charities and eight fire departments. The event has raised a total of $1.4 million (not including 2019) since moving to Sunrise Beach. The total amount raised this year will not be released for a few weeks.
Many volunteers give of their time, skills and resources to make the event a success. In 2018, a record 700 volunteers raised funds for the charity or fire district of their choice.
The amount each volunteer raises for their charity or fire district is determined by the number of hours they volunteer, and the scope of work they perform at the Shootout.