Wherever you are during the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri, there’s a good chance that it’s a 20- to 30-minute drive from where you need to be next. That’s just the nature of traveling by car from one waterfront place to another at a lake with more than 1,100 miles of shoreline. In most cases, traveling by powerboat, especially one in the high-performance realm, is much quicker and more efficient.
So when my fellow offshoreonly.com columnist Jason Johnson, speedonthewater.com national sales manager Ryan Johnson and I learned that Nor-Tech’s first Owners Appreciation Party on Friday evening during this year’s Shootout was at the Porto Cima Yacht Club in Sunrise Beach, we were delighted to drop by for a few reasons.
First, we cover—and appreciate—the North Fort Myers, Fla., company’s high-performance center consoles, catamarans and V-bottoms. Second, the people at Nor-Tech, from co-founder Trond Schou (who had just returned from Norway and couldn’t make it to this year’s party at the lake) to director of dealer development Geoff Tomlinson, are super cool and just plain fun to be around.
And third? The party was all of five minutes from our traditional Shootout home-base, meaning the second residence of Roger and Nancy Neighbors, who live most of the time in Kansas City. Every year since 2014, the Neighbors have opened their waterfront home—we own the entire lower level of it for five days—to our coverage team. (They even stock the place with beer and snacks for us.)
Hosted by Lake of the Ozarks-based Nor-Tech dealers Randy Kent and Marvin Dufner of Midwest Boating Center, the Nor-Tech event took over all the slips in front of the Porto Cima Yacht Club and Marina, which is tucked away in a quiet cove. In addition to multiple 39- and 34-foot center consoles and at least one 45-footer, the fleet included a 36-foot Nor-Tech catamaran. Cocktails and appetizers with live steel-drum entertainment in the background led to a casual alfresco dinner, though we had to skip the meal and head to our next event. (So many parties, so little time.)
In short, the docks at Porto Cima—decked out with Nor-Tech banners—looked like a brand-specific boat show, which was exactly what Dufner, Kent and Tomlinson had in mind. Tomlinson said that the party, which will return to the venue on Friday during next year’s Shootout and may include an early afternoon Nor-Tech fun run, was overdue.
“Thanks to our fantastic dealer there, the number of Nor-Techs at the Lake of the Ozarks is a lot greater than most people realize,” he said. “And there’s a lot of Nor-Tech owners who travel to the lake just for the Shootout. Marvin and Randy felt that it would be really nice to host an event and truly show our appreciation, and they did a fantastic job.
“As it happened, Mike Moncrief, the former mayor of Fort Worth (Texas) and his wife, Rosie, were at the lake for week of golfing,” he added. “They had no clue about the Shootout. Being from Fort Worth and a fellow Texas Christian University alumnus, I was honored to take them out on a Nor-Tech 340 center console during the event and introduce them to our world.”
Tomlinson said he hopes everyone who enjoyed the party will return next year. We know we will. After all, it’s too much fun and, OK, too close to our Shootout home-base to pass up.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.