In a fitting tribute to the Big Thunder Motorsports crew who died at the Key West World Championships in Florida last November, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout shut down the racing at noon on Saturday to honor Bob Morgan and Jeff "JT" Tillman.
A fly over with six planes made its way above the Shootout course, which was followed by a drag-race exhibition between two of Michael "Doc" Janssen's canopy race boats—his Fountain and his brand new Outerlimits—just as Morgan did every year in his Skater Powerboats race boats to delight of the thousands of boaters rafted off along the Shootout course.
An emotional Ron Duggan, owner of the Captain Ron's (home of the Shootout), said he missed Morgan and Tillman deeply.
"With Bob especially, he was such an integral part of building the Shootout to what it is today," Duggan said minutes after the tribute. "Between all the relationships he made racing, he brought these guys to Lake of the Ozarks. We can't do enough to recognize the efforts he made to put the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and this lake on the national map. He and JT were such amazing ambassadors of the sport. We miss them so much.
"We just want people to never forget what Bob has done for this event," he continued. "I believe every year you'll see something that will keep his memory in the Shootout alive. We're working on something really special for next year's 25th anniversary."
One of the Big Thunder Motorsports Skaters was on display at the end of the docks, as Morgan always had done throughout the years. And everywhere you turned someone was wearing a shirt or a hat with the No. 100 on them. If Bob and JT happened to be looking down on the event today, you can be sure they're smiling.
In a bit of racing news, the current top speed—180 mph—was recorded by Bob Bull in his 48-foot catamaran from Marine Technology Inc. Stay tuned for more news.