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Tristan Collins Runs The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

She takes the helm of the Skater used to set the Bermuda Challenge record.

September 19, 2014
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Tristan at the helm.

Tyson Garvin met his girlfriend Tristan Collins at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in 2010 and the two have shared a love of performance boats ever since.

The two differ in how they show their affection for go-fast craft. Garvin likes to drive the boats in a variety of competitions. Collins, on the other hand, prefers to simply admire the boats. “I’m not a competitive person,” she said. “I like watching and enjoying performance boats.”

So when Garvin came up with the idea of the hometown girl running his Skater 399 V-bottom that he and Chris Fertig used to break the record for the Boating Magazine Bermuda Challenge in the 2014 shootout, Collins wasn’t so sure. “It stemmed from Tyson saying something about it before we even left to go to the shootout,” she recalled. “When it got closer to a few days before the Shootout, I said, ‘Are you really serious, do you want me to run it by myself?’”

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He did and Collins, 27, who is from Laurie, Mo., on the west side of Lake of the Ozarks, reluctantly agreed to run the boat. It should be noted that this was not her first time driving the stepped V-bottom. In the 2013 Lake of the Ozarks Invitational race, Collins drove and Garvin throttled the boat, which is powered by twin 480-hp 5.9-liter Cummins diesels with Arneson ASD8 Surface Drives and ZF two-speed transmissions. They ran in the Unlimited class and almost pulled off the upset finishing second in a battle of attrition.

To prepare for the 2014 shootout, the two tested on Thursday and Friday, but then on Saturday morning, they took a final ride together to check trim settings and broke a trim indicator. “We had to leave the course and go down the Little Niangua arm of the lake and I was driving the boat in a straight line and Tyson was checking the trim position without hitting the rev limiters and we left the drives trimmed for that maximum speed at the end of the course.”

BERMUDA CHALLENGE CHAMPION’S GEARING UP

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This made it a little tougher for Collins to get the boat on plane and she was concerned about a difficult start. Still, donned in a pink crash helmet and pink Lifeline personal flotation device, she said, “I dropped him off with some people we did not know and then I ran the boat by myself.”

Running at speed

Collins got the Skater on plane just fine and posted an impressive speed of 80 mph. “I was so relieved that everything went well and with everything that happened that day, it was a huge relief that I got through it,” she said. “It’s not the easiest boat to drive by yourself.” She said that her cell phone actually overheated because of all the congratulatory texts after the run.

Because she’s supportive of Garvin’s and Fertig’s efforts to get more interest in the boat and their offshore endurance team, she understands the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity to get exposure. “The more time people see the boat, the more curious they’ll become and the more popular it will become,” she said.

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She said that Garvin could instantly see that she had a passion for boating when they met and that the common bond remains four years later. “Our favorite hobby is boating and what better way to share something with your significant other?,” said Collins.

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