Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Your Official Boater’s Guide To Lake Race 2018

May 31, 2018 by Boat Planet

Find our Lake Race 2019 guide here

Lake Race is powerboat racing at its best on a lake which is best known for fast boats and big crowds. From must-attend events to how to best watch the races on the water, we’ve got you covered. Batten down the hatches, load up the cooler and enjoy the ride–this is your official boater’s guide to Lake Race 2018 at Lake of the Ozarks.

Photo Credit: Brad Glidewell Photography

Must Attend Events

From fast boats to fast cars, find your speed fix at Lake Race Festival of Speed! The party kicks off at 5 PM on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at the new Big Thunder Marine showroom in Lake Ozark. Insider Tip: This is your chance to meet the “King of Offshore,” Reggie Fountain and members of the Miss Geico Racing team! All parking is located at the old Staples building at 3534 Osage Beach Parkway in Lake Ozark. Race fans can take the shuttle to and from Big Thunder Marine. Shuttle service is from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Be sure to check out the Wake Effects boat, WHM boat, the brand new Big Thunder Marine showroom and more! Snacks and a cash bar provided.

On Friday, June 1, 2018, from 5 PM to 9 PM, dock your boat at Beavers at the Dam and walk up to the strip for the Lake Race Meet and Greet Street Party. Get up close and personal with these monstrous racing boats! Insider Tip: This is your chance to meet racers and their crew before they take to the water on Saturday. These colorful and beautiful boats make for great photo opportunities. Check out the kid’s zone–fun for the entire family! At 9 PM, Disco Dick and the Mirrorballs take the stage at Beavers at the Dam. All parking will be at the campground below the dam. Shuttle service operates throughout the weekend beginning at 4 PM.

lake race meet and greet
Race day is Saturday, June 2, 2018. OPA sanctioned powerboat racing begins with opening ceremonies at 10:40 AM at the official host facility, Beavers at the Dam. Racing begins at 11 AM and continues until all heats are complete (approximately 5 PM). Enjoy more than 30 boats in 11 classes as they compete for big prize money. Spectators can view the race from Beavers at the Dam, Willmore Lodge and at various other locations around the track, but the best views are on the water.​

lake race beavers at the dam
Photo Credit: Brad Glidewell Photography

Watch the Race on the Water

If you truly want to feel the force behind powerboat racing, head out on the water. There are many viewing options for boaters along this five-mile, oval shape course that runs from the dam to the 4MM of the main channel. Water Patrol will enforce a no wake zone, from Isla del Sol to Bagnell Dam, 30 minutes before the start of the race until 30 minutes after the last race. The racetrack is marked by buoys and another area outside the track is marked for safe anchoring of boaters watching the race. Insider Tip: Anchor your boat anywhere along the north and south straightaways for great viewing and photography opportunities. Get ready to feel the rumble of high-performance engines at speeds upwards of 180 mph!

lake race map
Essentials to Bring Aboard

Plan ahead for this enjoyable, but long day on the water. In addition to stocking your boat with essential items like food, refreshments, sunscreen, sunglasses, and towels; make sure you have the correct number of life jackets and a fire extinguisher. It looks like it’s going to be a hot weekend so bring along your rafts and floating mats to cool off. With warm weather can come afternoon thunderstorms so make sure someone has a phone to check the weather. Strong wind from storms can make it difficult to pull up your anchor and untie from other boats. In an emergency, you’ll want to make sure you have a sharp knife to break free if needed. Be safe, watch your wake, and remember our 11 Safety Tips for Busy Boating Weekends.  

Kickback & Relax Instead of Fighting Boat Traffic

No one likes to fight the infamous waves of Lake of the Ozarks after a big event. Instead, kick back and relax post-race and allow for the boat traffic and wakes to dissipate. Camden on the Lake will be hosting the Lake Race awards ceremony and after-party–both start at 6:30 PM. If you were watching the race closer to the 4MM, consider grabbing a bite to eat at Shady Gators or H. Toad’s at Camden on the Lake–all located at the 7MM. If you’re on the north side of the course, dinner and drinks await at Boathouse Lakeside Bar & Grill (3MM) or Bee’s Knees ‘Beech’ House (5.5MM). Trust us, any of the above-mentioned options will be better than experiencing the bathtub effect of the Lake after a big event.  

Where do you plan on watching the race? What class of boats are your favorite? Do you plan on hitting up the events before the race? Join the conversation, we would love to hear from you!

Boat Planet