Over the past five years, the team at Big Thunder Marine in Lake Ozark, Missouri, has invested a lot of resources in assembling Baja, Fountain and Donzi Fun Run – BFD for short – for their large-scale customer base in the Lake of the Ozarks. During that time, participation by owners of the 10, 20 and even 30-year-old Baja Marine, Fountain Powerboats and Donzi Marine models has been encouraging, to say the least.
BFD’s fifth annual BFD Fun Run kicked off Friday morning at Camden on the Lake Resort in Lake Ozark, Missouri.
“The turnout this year has been impressive, especially for the heat,” said Ed Champion of Big Thunder Marine. “We had 85 boats registered, I am not sure how many others showed up. I was amazed at how many people came out to run and party on Thursday night. I would like to thank everyone for coming and spending time with us – we appreciate that more than you know.”
Champion, Jeremy Anderson – General Manager of the Agency – and the rest of the Big Thunder Marine crew hosted a well-attended welcome party at Big Thunder Marine Speed and Luxury showroom Thursday evening, where many of the new boats, including outboard boats, were on display. Power boats and center consoles from Fountain and Donzi 38 ZRC sterndrive powered. The relatively new Cigarette Racing Team dealer had a new Cigarette 42 Auroris powered by four Mercury Racing 450R engines sitting next to the world’s fastest Baja—the bottom of the 35-foot-tall Chad Pratter.
Prater, who hit 118 mph in 35 feet in the 2021 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, said he finished a complete rebuild of the boat just in time for a fun run.
“The run was great as always,” Prater said. “It was hot but you can’t do anything about it. Everyone seemed to have a great time and the Big Thunder Marine team did a great job with everything. Thursday’s meeting was fun and it was great that they asked to put my boat in the showroom. Always happy to help wherever I can.
“It’s kind of funny because we didn’t have any engines or driving on the boat 10 days ago,” he continued, laughing. “We use the same engines but re-fitted all hoses and fittings and cleaned just about everything. All water and fuel lines are new and we re-harness and update ignition boxes and distributors. We also updated the entire dashboard – it now has a 16” Garmin display on the side The driver and Garmin 12-inch display in the passenger side.”
Chad Pratter and two friends had fun on the 35-foot Baja Race.
The boat deal is based in Chaunie, based in Cannes. Tuning the engine and electronics.
“We barely got the engines running before we head out to the lake on Thursday,” he said, adding that he gets most of his parts from Teague Custom Marine in Valencia, California. To Bare Bottoms on Friday morning. We’re planning to do some tuning while we’re at the lake this weekend to get ready for this year’s shootout.”
Prater said he hopes to exceed 120 mph on the three-quarter-mile course at the end of August. “The water and the weather should be fine, but I think we can get there,” he explained.
Powered by two Mercury Racing 300R twin engines, Nick Pollard’s Fountain 34 Thunder Cat was one of the coolest cats on the BFD Fun Run.
First-timer Nick Pollard, a Colorado resident who owns a lake house with his brother, said he was impressed with Friday’s turnout.
“It was my first time in a fun race, and in my opinion it was a first-class event,” said Bullard, who took delivery of a two-engine Mercury Racing 300R Fountain 34 Thunder Cat in early May. “The Big Thunder guys are amazing. They did a great job at this event.”
Pollard said that his boat received a lot of attention during the fun run and that it did remarkably well with his brother and best friend on board. He added that he plans to have the boat at Super Cat Fest and Shootout On The Strip during the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout next month.
Check out the slideshow above for more photos of Baja, Donzi, and Fountain models at the BFD Fun Run hosted by the Big Thunder Marine.
Owners of one of the many Fountain 38 Sport Console center consoles available for the event, local boaters from St. Louis Bob and Angie Rickard at their first BFD Fun Run HellThe 38-foot-long, triple-engined Mercury Marine Verado 400 was delivered to the couple in September 2020.
“There were a lot more boats than expected,” said Bob Ricard, who admitted he wasn’t aware of the event until Champion texted him earlier in the week. “I told Angie, ‘That sounds fun, maybe we should do it. She agreed and I’m glad she did.
“It was very hot and I personally think getting 10 stops was a bit too much to try and get through in one day, but we still had fun,” he added. “We love the boat and enjoy getting out on it at every opportunity. We’ve used it a lot this summer. We have a Sea Ray 48 Sundancer, and every time we walk to the pier we pick the fountain. It’s always a great choice.”
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