The Tale of White Lightning


Right now, there’s a covered 41-foot V-bottom called White Lightning sitting on a boat lift in front of a modest shoreline condominium in Osage Beach, Mo. Well known locally on the Lake of the Ozarks, the 13-year-old boat rides on a Kevlar and carbon fiber Apache hull with a custom-built deck from Steven Yadvish of Northcoast Yachts in Seattle. It is powered by a pair of 1,300-hp, 588-cubic-inch supercharged engines from Brad Smith Power in Joplin, Mo.

And right now, the 41-footer is a source of conflicting emotions for its owner, Travis Reed. That’s not just because Reed, who is in the commercial and industrial business, knew Brad Smith, the noted 39-year-old engine builder who died earlier this month in an accident during the Lake Cumberland Poker Run, and considered him one his “best friends.” It’s because White Lightning had been a labor of love and a source of joy for Reed and Smith for the past 10 years, and they finally finished it this summer. In a way, they both owned White Lightning.

“I haven’t touched it since Brad’s wreck,” says Reed, who struggles to maintain composure at the mention of his late friend’s name. “I haven’t been back to the lake since then.”

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