LakeRacer LLC—the organization that mounts the wildly successful Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, AZ—will move the course of its popular Shootout during the event this April, it was announced.
"We are changing the location for several reasons, mainly safety," said LakeRacer President Jim Nichols. "The Thompson Bay course has proved to be too rough towards the Copper Canyon end, due to boat traffic that we have been unable to mitigate. The no-wake zones we established were too large and spread out; our safety boats could not interdict the violators, and law enforcement was not going to help with that issue," he added.
Nichols said that discussions with Coast Guard and the City of Lake Havasu have been "very positive," and that he did not foresee problems involving permit approval.
According to Nichols, many of Desert Storm's participants lobbied for the change, indicating an unwillingness to continue running the existing course because rogue boat wakes made the course too rough. The message was clear—find a better protected area that can be better patrolled.
Unfortunately, the new course will not be as user-friendly for the spectator crowd that previously enjoyed a satisfactory view from Rotary Park Beach. "But as this event is staged primarily for the participants, we will move it and hope for the best for the spectators," Nichols said.
The new course is in a smaller area, with better protection on both sides. The east and west ends of the course will be easier to shut down, and will only accommodate “no wake” traffic behind the spectator line against the Arizona side. No traffic or boats will be allowed along the California side, where the shootout course is nearer.
"The new course Is also much better protected from the north winds that cancelled the event last year, and created control challenges the two years before," Nichols said. "So it could be a better plan with all things considered."
In addition, organizers are planning a wet pits area in the Site Six Launch ramp dock areas, with additional docks brought in. Boat safety inspections will be there, along with a spectator/vendor area in the ramp parking lot. Land-based spectators, meanwhile, will be able to watch from the bluffs to the northwest of Site Six.