Any notions that this year’s shorter three-quarter-of-a-mile course at the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri might lead to a less-than-thrilling event were dispelled today by great action in front of what the organizers believe to be a record-setting spectator fleet. Here are the highlights from today’s action:

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The American Ethanol team of John Cosker and driver Tony Battiato ran 204 mph on the three-quarter-mile course in the 51-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran owned by Don Onken and sponsored by Big Thunder Marine. All photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

American Ethanol Leads the Pack
Following its 200-mph run at last month’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees (GLOC) Performance Boat Challenge Shootout in Grove, Okla., the American Ethanol/Onken Racing team of throttleman John Cosker and driver Tony Battiato wowed the crowd with a 204-mph run in today’s top-speed event.

Cosker and Battiato made just one run in the 51-foot canopied Mystic Powerboats catamaran, which is powered by four fresh engines totaling 9,000 hp and owned by Illinois native Don Onken. The run was more than enough to establish an impressive record on the Shootout’s new three-quarter-mile course.

“The boat just set perfectly—it didn’t do anything wrong today,” Cosker said, adding that the team did some damage to one of the engine’s blowers and wasn’t able to repair it in time today to make another pass, but should be back on Sunday to entertain the crowd. “It really is a fantastic boat. I wish we still had the one-mile course just to see what the boat could do. There was more in it at 3/4 mile that’s for sure. I’m not disappointed at all with 204 mph but I know we can go a little faster.

“Tony got a little more practice in the boat since GLOC, so that helped,” he continued. “He set the boat up perfectly for this course.”

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Vern Gilbert ran 182 mph in his 40-foot Skater on Saturday.

Predator Packs a Punch
Vern Gilbert, who brought Predator, his 1991 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran, to the event from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., was thrilled with his 182-mph top speed, which was the second-best speed of the day. The boat, which is powered by a pair of 2,100-hp Carson Brummett engines, appeared to take a perfect set during its final run of the day.

“The water great out there today and the boat was very comfortable,” said Gilbert, who upped his speed from 178 mph to 179 mph before pushing the Rev-X Oil-sponsored Skater to 182 mph. “I’m really happy with that speed and Carson (Brummett) is too. If we had another 1/4 mile I think the boat could run 200 mph. But we don’t really need to go that fast. We are going to go back out tomorrow though and see what it can do.”

Gilbert was two-mph faster than his friends down the river in Parker, Ariz.—the Bad Attitude Boats team of Kelly Kraiss and Ron Gibbs that recorded a 180-mph top speed in Top Cat, their 36-foot Skater.

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Kelly Kraiss and Ron Gibbs laid down an impressive 180-mph top speed in their 36-foot Skater.

Factory Billet Flies
Yesterday, Jim Schultz told us he’d be happy to see his 51-foot Factory Billet Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats V-bottom (read the story) run 150 mph in today’s top-speed contest. Schultz was not intentionally underestimating what the boat could do, but before today the fastest he’d run it was 154 mph and he took his time building up to that speed. Sharing the cockpit with Factory Billet Power engine man Mike Faucher, Schultz piloted the 51-footer with twin 1,950-hp/1,650-hp engines to 161 mph in his first pass through the course.

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Bob Bull and Randy Scism ran 177 mph in Bull's canopied 52-foot MTI catamaran.

No Bull from Bull
Lake of the Ozarks Shootout competitors don’t get any more local than Bob Bull of CMS Offshore Racing fame, so he never fails to represent in meaningful fashion. Bull and longtime team Randy Scism, the founder of MTI, made two runs in Bull's 52-foot MTI catamaran with twin Mercury Racing 1650 engines and both came in at 177 mph.

Other Notables
• Dennis and Jason Parvey wanted to give Factory Billet a run for its money in their 43-foot Black Thunder, which claimed the overall V-bottom Top Gun title last year with a 165-mph run on the one-mile course, but with three runs today on this year’s shorter course the best they could do was 148 mph, 150 mph and 151 mph. But they’ll be back tomorrow.

• Brad Rowland, last year’s Pontoon-class winner with a 114-mph run, reached a more than respectable 110-mph top speed in Tooned In, his triple-outboard-engine-powered South Bay tri-toon model.

• Tiffany Maasen ran the 'Merica, the Poly Lift Boat Lifts Nor-Tech 340 powered triple 300-hp Mercury Marine Verado outboard engines, to a top speed of 76 mph, which leads the class.

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Performance Boat Center and Wake Effects did an exhibition run along the course during the Shootout.

• Spectators were treated to a side-by-side exhibition-run battle of homegrown Lake of the Ozarks offshore racing world champions when Rusty Rahm and Randy Scism ran the 48-foot MTI Wake Effects catamaran against Myrick Coil and Greg Hillmer in their 38-foot Skater Performance Boat Center. As expected, with its 1,800-hp advantage, the Wake Effects team prevailed.

• In one of the prettiest runs of the day, Chad Prater made a 117-mph pass in his Baja Marine 35 Outlaw with twin Whipple-supercharged engines estimated to be in the 900-hp range.

Editor’s note: Look for Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Day Two Highlights tomorrow evening, as well as a comprehensive feature on the event and Super Cat Fest in the upcoming July/August issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine. Check out the full results from the Shootout here.

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