The Desert Storm Shootout is the third and final event that caps off 3 days of horsepower madness that IS Desert Storm. If you’ve been, you know that thousands of people and boats line the shores of the Island along the course, waiting to see who will become King and/or Queen of the Desert. This year was no different, but with the added bonus that it actually happened. Yes, if you’ve paid any attention to the event over the years, you know that it has been postponed until Sunday a few times due to wind.


Luckily, not this year. With perfect weather and only a light enough breeze to keep spectators cool, the 2019 Shootout ran all day without a hitch. Originally scheduled to shoot from the RDP houseboat, it wasn’t ready for departure due to being low on supplies from the day before. Instead of waiting, So instead of waiting, I decided to go try and shoot from the ledge at Site 6. It was then that I noticed Kurt Truettner backing off the beach in his recently restored 47 foot Black Thunder. He’s been making a splash lately about his partnership and comeback of the Black Thunder brand.


I gave him a whistle to look over for a shot of his boat, and he immediately gave me a wave to jump aboard. I wasn’t expecting it, but I gladly accepted because I knew he was going out to the lineup for the shootout. Once on board, I was introduced to his beautiful wife Lynda and daughter, Jessie, along with several family friends. They were all so gracious and made me feel right at home on their boat. We pulled into the lineup and got anchored, and thanks to the high deck, I had a pretty good vantage point to shoot from. I got really lucky with that invitation, and I can’t thank them all enough for their hospitality.


The shootout itself was action packed. There were what appeared to be a lot of very fast passes. There were many familiar boats such as Steve Sundling in his green DCB M31, and Dave Magoo in his older DCB M35. (I only say older because of his new M44, which I don’t blame him for not running). Also out running both of his boats was Lawrence Cohello with his 28’ DCB Extreme and F29. But DCB’s weren’t the only shootout contenders. Skater made a strong showing with Tim Jone's in his 40' Skater Super Sport, where is wife Miranda Jones won her class, pushing their Carson Brummett 1350's to a pass of 126mph.


As if Skater needed any more name recognition, Vern Gilbert once again earned himself and the brand the 2019 "King Of the Desert” title in his 40ft Skater, “Predator” with twin 2300hp Carson Brummett engines and a top speed pass of 186mph. Congrats once again to Vern and his team. Another notable contender was Josh Noak in he and Cherilyn Teague-Noak’s new 26ft Adrenaline Custom Boats powered by twin Mercury 300’s, who ran a top speed of 108.


Of course, the shootout wouldn’t be the shootout with the spectator fleet. With a mile long raftup, it’s one of the biggest parties on the water. And within that lineup is a veritable boat show on the water. Groups of friends and strangers tie up together to enjoy the show, and that’s what its all about. Having a good time on our beloved Lake Havasu. What more could you possibly ask.


Erick Bryner