Super Cat Fest, the annual gathering of high-speed catamarans, will once again complement the LOTO Shootout later this month when participants descend upon the Camden on the Lake Resort Aug. 26-29.
According to longtime organizer Alvin Heathman, the latest installment will feature a variety of tweaks, including a special Bikini Life Fashion Show beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, which is open to the public and designed to raise money for charity. This will be followed directly by a major display of fireworks (provided by John Woodruff, owner of the 48′ MTI Windship). The Charity Dinner and Auction is scheduled for Saturday evening at 7 p.m., and will be livestreamed on Speedboat Magazine’s Facebook page, where people can call in to participate and contribute –– followed directly by an ’80’s/’90’s DJ party on the Camden Pool Deck, hosted by Speedboat. The auction and fashion show will feature emcee Nolan Ferris, a philanthropist whose passion is to help people in need.
A 20-year veteran of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Ferris was involved in the launch of the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run in upstate New York, and has been involved in Super Cat Fest for many years, including the event’s Saturday-night auction to raise money for kids. His “wingman” is South Carolina’s Todd Campbell, owner of the MTI 57V center console Unbridled. “He is the true definition of a Southern gentlemen,” Ferris says. “He’s a guy who runs around, gets into your face and encourages people to bid higher. It’s turned into a sideshow to be quite honest with you,” he chuckles. Among the items to be auctioned this year: two “shot skis” painted by Stephen Miles Design, a travel cover certificate valued at $5,000 from Marine Concepts, and a feature story from Speedboat Magazine.
This year, the bikini contest will take on a new look—hopefully for the better. The new concept is the Bikini Life Fashion Show, a charitable event to raise money for a good cause.
That cause is young Elijah Torres. Nearly 2 years old, he is the son of Nicole Torres, general manager at Camden on the Lake, and Pierre Torres, the Executive Chef at Performance Boat Center‘s popular eateries, including Lakeside Grill, High Tide and Roxie’s on Bagnell Dam Strip. “Elijah has an auto-immune condition and a lot of other underlying issues,” Ferris says. “So he’s been in a hospital in St. Louis for months.”
Fortunately, both Camden on the Lake and Performance Boat Center allow them to work remotely 50 percent of the time. The parents have therefore worked out an elaborate schedule of trading off staying with Elijah at the hospital: Pierre stays at a hotel in St. Louis on Sunday through Wednesday, working remotely while attending to the needs of the baby at the hospital. Nicole drives up on Wednesday, relieves Pierre and stays in St. Louis through Saturday, driving back on Sunday. They rarely spend time together, seeing each other only long enough to pass off their hotel key before going back to work. “I commend both of them for what they’re doing, as well as their employers for staying true to them and helping them get through this—including Camden on the Lake owner Ken Heinz and general manager Bryan Drew, and Mark Waddington, Brett Manire and Elmo Willoughby of Performance Boat Center. They’ve been so great about letting them have such a flexible schedule.”
But the couple has amassed skyrocketing medical expenses, and Ferris is calling on people in our industry to lend a hand. He reached out to three manufacturers, including Demon Bikini and Buns Out (two swimwear firms) and Boat Babe, which produces lake-related apparel. He asked each to provide an array of their wares—bikinis, tank tops, hats, shorts, etc.—for the models to wear in the fashion show for the audience members to bid on. The winners will then be shipped their ideal style in their chosen sizes and colors.
Another cool addition to this year’s Super Cat Fest is Cristina Nicole, better known as DJ XTina, who will be deejaying all of the parties taking place at the event. She has kindly donated her time and services to the event to support the cause; find her on Instagram at @the_real_djxtina and on Facebook as DJ X-Tina.
As always, Super Cat Fest is long since sold out—but that doesn’t mean there won’t be cancellations.
“There are always cancellations at the last minute,” Heathman says. “People call me to ask if they can get a room, and I say, ‘I don’t have anything today, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have something tomorrow.’ We have seen a few cancellations because of the latest Covid scare, but every time one room frees up, two people want it.”