To no one’s surprise, Marine Technology Inc. (MTI) had a strong showing at the 25th anniversary of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout last week. Practically located in MTI’s backyard on Missouri’s expansive Lake of the Ozarks, the Shootout is always a good place to spot the latest and greatest—as well as some classics—from the Wentzville-based company. Yet this year the MTI presence seemed greater than normal.
Maybe it was because MTI owner Randy Scism—the very first Shootout Top Gun winner in 1989—was one of 10 people inducted into the Shootout’s inaugural Hall of Fame, which he acknowledged as a great honor. Or maybe it was because one of MTI’s 44-foot catamarans, which the company has for sale as it was taken in on a trade recently, won “Best in Show” during Saturday night’s SuperCat Fest awards at Camden on the Lake.
Or maybe it was because the company wrapped up three brand-new boats just in time for the Shootout festivities: Vinnie Foglia’s new 44-foot catamaran with twin Mercury Racing 1100s, which you can read about in Matt Trulio’s latest column; the company’s third 42-foot center console with four Mercury Verado 350 engines that was being tested before being delivered to the owner’s home in Ohio where it will sit next to his MTI catamaran; and Bob Bull’s latest show-stopping ride, a new 52-foot canopy race boat with a similar orange, black and silver paint scheme to his 48-foot pleasure boat and 48-foot race boat.
Bull, easily one of MTI’s best customers, beamed proudly as myself, Trulio, John Tomlinson of TNT Custom Marine and Tim Gallagher, MTI’s sales and marketing director, climbed inside the 52-footer to get a closer look at the massive cockpit that includes a unique six-seat configuration with room to maneuver around. I’d never sat in anything like it, as the second row of bucket seats are offset outside of and behind the driver and throttleman seats, and the third row is centered in the back with steps for getting in and out of the cockpit between them.
Although powered by twin Mercury 1350s to get the boat finished in time for the Shootout, Bull said the boat will eventually be equipped with Mercury 1650 Race engines and will be in Key West, Fla., for the world championships in November. He’s also contemplating endurance record run attempts such as Miami to New York and New Orleans to St. Louis. I can’t wait to see what he and his team have in store.
But back to last weekend. Between seeing the 2007 44-foot Bat Boat racing down the one-mile Shootout course or running into Kenny Armstrong and his crew in Phantom practically everywhere we went on the lake, there seemed to be an MTI around every corner. Armstrong, who owns the magnificent Rolls-Royce-inspired eight-seat 48 MTI with twin Mercury 1350 engines, also donated a ride in his boat that was auctioned off for the Shootout charities. The winner of the auction, Larry Herzing, got to run with Scism down the Shootout course—surely an experience he’ll never forget.
I have a feeling the 25th anniversary of one of the most popular performance boat events in the country provided experiences that many of us will never forget. Especially for Scism and the entire MTI family.
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com, and writes for Sportboat and Powerboating in Paradise magazines.