by: Dan Lindblad, Ozarks First
The Taneycomo Lake flowing near the Branson Landing can be descirbed as a peaceful place, but that’s not the case this weekend.
The Powerboat Nationals Protunnel 2 Series and Hydro-Cross Series is in Branson for the first time. Bringing a different, and louder sight for sports fans in the Ozarks.
“We’re very excited to be here,” Race Coordinator Dan Bunting said. “Everyone has given us open-arms to come.”
Powerboat Nationals brings some of the top jet-ski and boat drivers to the region. Drivers of all different ages and experience.
“It’s pretty exciting to see somebody 14 racing,” Bunting said. “Then we have some old-school guys that raced int he 80’s and 90’s that gave it up, retired, but said I’m going to try this new series.”
Saturday was all about placement, as some of the top drivers in the country battled for position in Sunday’s championship races.
“Once they get that lined up, (Sunday) they are racing for money,” Bunting said. “To them it’s pretty important, and the prestige.”
All the boats are chasing the 66 of Steve Merleau, who leads the series with 314 points. The rest of the pack have a little extra motivation to cross the finish line first .
“Just for fun I told the guys, we need to put a bounty on Steve,” Bunting said. “So the guys got together and said there is a bounty, anyone that beats him tomorrow in the championship race is going to be paid a little bit extra.”
The Races will continue throughout the day on Sunday, with championships taking center stage a little after 2 pm.
“If you are into racing, even though it’s jet-ski or boats, if you are a racing fan you are going to enjoy yourself,” Bunting said.