Cigarette Owner Rendezvous Sees Big Turnout Celebrating Brand’s 55th Anniversary

Cigarette Owner Rendezvous Sees Big Turnout Celebrating Brand’s 55th Anniversary

The high-performance boating world’s most iconic brand, Cigarette Racing Team is celebrating its double-nickel anniversary this year. And the party started in strong fashion yesterday at the Cigarette Owners Rendezvous produced by Big Thunder Marine, the vaunted center-console and sportboat company’s dealer at the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri.

Yesterday’s fun run saw an array of Cigarette sportboats and center consoles take to the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri. Photos by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Jeff Helmkamp Photos.

Though 86 boats were registered for the event when the week began, Big Thunder Marine salesman Ed Champion estimated that 90 to 100 boats made it for yesterday’s fun run.

“Our staff wrote in a bunch of people Friday morning,” he explained. “I am still getting calls and texts from people who saw it on social media and want to join today and for dinner tonight.

“I am not sure how to even count it as of now,” he continued. “It was 86 boats registered as of Monday and probably ended up at 90 to 100 after a few didn’t make it because of boat and or trailer issues while others showed up the morning of.” contributing photographer Jeff Helmkamp was there, courtesy of Ron Szolack on his new 41 Nighthawk center console, to capture the action. Helmkamp has captured the event for the past several years. This one did not disappoint, he said.

The docks at the event’s Camden On Lake host venue were full.

“Every dock at Camden was full and there were there was a couple raft-offs plus, plus Cigarettes at the gas docks,” he explained. “Every direction you looked on the lake, there were Cigarettes.”

“After the driver’s meeting and breakfast at the Camden On The Lake Resort, we rushed out so I could get shots of most of the boats as they departed” he added. “We started out running around 50 mph but picked it up to 70 mph and then 80 mph.”

Producing the event was a first for the multi-brand, multi-location dealership. What’s more, members of the Ruiz family, the owners of Cigarette Racing Team, were on hand to enjoy the event.

Members of the Ruiz family addressed the roomful of Cigarette powerboat owners before the run began.

It was their first visit to the Lake of the Ozarks, which is a hotbed for the Cigarette brand.

“It was great having the Ruiz family here for their first time, and great having so many Cigarette owners welcome the new-ish owners of the brand,” said Anderson. “ We’ve met a lot of Cigarette owners over the last couple of days and so many of them came up and told us how were appreciative they are of the new partnership between Big Thunder and Cigarette—and what the future holds for the brand.

















Enjoy more images from the first day of the 2024 Cigarette Owners Rendezzvous

“(Big Thunder Marine owner) Fred Ross, Ed Champion and I met with Cigarette chief executive officer Alex Ruiz last night to reinforce our partnership and plan for future expansion with our brands,” he continued. “Both the Big Thunder and Cigarette teams worked extremely hard to put together a first-class event in short order, with plans for more events and an even bigger Rendezvous next year.”

Next up on the Big Thunder Marine events schedule is the Support Our Troops Poker Run set for Friday, June 21.

Added Champion, “We still learn a ton from every run. The starts are hard with Missouri patrol rules being 10 boats at a time and a helicopter trying to space them out to keep it safe.

“We want the owners to have input and will survey all who attended to make adjustments for next year,” he added. “We welcome any feedback from the owners and participants.”

Champion paused to chuckle.

“We might even take advice from the media,” he said.

No powerboat brand has more loyal owners than Cigarette.

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