"Somber spirit" at last day of Shootout lake race

The last day of the 26th annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout ended smoothly Sunday afternoon, but not without reflection in the wake of a boat accident that left two people seriously injured the day before.

Although turnout was good Sunday, many racers and their teams told KRCG13 their thoughts and prayers are with 47 year-old Joel Begin of Valley Field, Quebec and 44 year-old Michael Fiore, of Bristol, Rhode Island.

Both suffered serious injuries when they lost control of their boat around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

As of Sunday night, Joel Begin had been discharged from the hospital. Fiore remains in critical condition.

Nine-year Shootout race veteran Brad Harrington said although speed is what attracts him to boat racing, he has no desire to go any faster than his 85 m.p.h. boat will take him.

"There was a somber spirit today and yesterday," Harrington said. "So everyone's, you know, got their feelings out for him."

Staff member Diana Dorhauer said when racers are trying to break speed records; there is no 100% guarantee of safety.

"Safety is always an issue," Dorhauer said. "We have a lot of firemen, a lot of safety people out on the water. I think they did a tremendous job yesterday, of getting to the boat quickly."

Around 75 racers registered for this year's racing event. Dorhauer said the high temperatures slowed down some boats, but it didn't stop the crowds from turning out.

Although Saturday's accident was on many people's minds, race veteran Kevin Pyles said everyone who participates has to accept the inherent risk involved.

"You're not going to stop these guys," Pyles said. "They've been doing it for years. I'm with the Sea Bulls, it's their 75th anniversary of doing this... It is what it is, it's not going to stop. The best thing to do is protect people and make laws and rules that they've got to abide by."