With a record 119 boats entered into the mix, this weekend’s eighth annual Cigarette Owners Gathering produced by Performance Boat Center in Osage Beach, Mo., ended yesterday on a decidedly high note. Like any long-running event, of course, the high-performance powerboat that takes place on the Lake of the Ozarks has its own momentum. Born out of passion for the much-vaunted brand, that momentum was on full display yesterday, as well as in Friday’s fun race.
Todd Fountain raced his 2022 model year Cigarette 41 Nighthawk at this weekend’s event on the Lake of the Ozarks. Photos by Jeff Helmkamp.
Late yesterday morning, cigarette owners from across the country headed out of the Lake of the Ozarks dealership location at Mile Marker 21 for lunch at Big Dick’s Halfway Inn. A healthy raft at Linn Creek followed the relatively short run.
For speedonthewater.com photographer Jeff Helmkamp, capturing yesterday’s action was both satisfying and a little difficult. His first ride of the day, a superb Cigarette 42X Lip-Ship Edition sports boat owned by Dan Ellis of Southern California, had engine trouble, so he took a drive to the lunch venue. Luckily for Helmkamp, Ron Szolack, who owns a 42 Huntress GTO center console, had plenty of room for the photographer and hadn’t left for the raft.
Yesterday’s raft on Linn Creek was a sea of cigarette fiberglass.
“When we got there, the raft was going full throttle with, I guess, 30 to 40 boats,” Helmkamp said. “Several came after us.
“It was great fun hanging out and talking about boats with Ron,” he added. “I couldn’t take many action shots of boats in motion, although I did get a few.”
Among those shots was one of Todd and Danielle Fountain, and a few of their friends, running a 41 Nighthawk center console they took delivery of after the 2022 Miami International Boat Show. Fountains walked past Szolack and company on the way of Linn Creek.
Enjoy more footage from yesterday’s event.
“It was a great event,” Fountain said.
His friend and fellow Michigander Szolack agreed. “It was then lots of fun,” he said. “Now we’re preparing to put the boat back on the trailer at the Performance Boat Center and head back to Michigan.”
After last night’s dinner celebration in the Performance Boat Center showroom, the MTI, Performance Powerboats and Velocity Powerboats dealer auctioned off cigarette brand memorabilia, including several brand name banners, an LED cigarette sign from the dealer’s showroom and a large outdoor cigarette sign that had hung in the back of his paint shop.
“I won’t have the final number until next week,” said Brett Manire, co-owner of Performance Boat Center with Mark Waddington. “But we raised nearly $35,000 for Make-A-Wish.”
Asked if the auction of Cigarette-branded items meant this weekend’s owners’ appointment was the last for Performance Boat Center, which is no longer a cigarette retailer, Manire said responded quickly.
‘No, sir,’ he said. “As we announced last night, the event will continue.”
As usual, Performance Boat Center closed the event in style. Photos by Brett Manire courtesy of Performance Boat Center.
Cigarette owners beat heat to set record at Performance Boat Center rendezvous
Cigarette owners descending on Performance Boat Center
Performance Boat Center named Presenting Sponsor for Race World Offshore Key West Worlds
Inside SOTW Mag: Out Of This World At The 2021 Cigarette Owners’ Rendezvous
Two thumbs up for another record-breaking cigarette owner appointment