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Tyler Yacht Club: More Than Just a Hobby

Tyler Yacht Club: More Than Just a Hobby

Written and Photographed By Lynn Dark

There is no denying the beauty of East Texas. One of the favorite pastimes of many East Texans is spending time on on

e of the many gorgeous lakes in the area. No one appreciates this more than the members of the Tyler Yacht Club (TYC).

I met with TJ Mathis, this year’s TYC Commodore, at their impressive facility on Lake Tyler to learn more about the organization. Instead of heading inside the clubhouse for the interview, Mathis suggested that we sit outside on the deck to enjoy the lake while we visited.

This is one of his favorite things to do, and I can certainly understand why. The view is fantastic and the sounds from the lake are peaceful and relaxing.

Founded in 1954, the TYC is located on Lake Tyler approximately 5 miles east of Whitehouse, Texas. Specific directions from Tyler can be found on the website.

The TYC is home to a fleet of Catalina 22 sailboats, as well as 5 Sunfish and several offshore (larger) sailboats. The largest boat at the club is around 28 feet.

The Sunfish boats are owned by the club and are available for use by club members. It is not necessary to own a boat to join the club. Some members have boats, and some don’t.

The TYC boats can be sailed by one to three people, depending on size of the boat, and whether the boat is being used for cruising or racing. The club does both social sailing and speed sailing.

The TYC has weekly races for its spring, summer, fall, and winter series. There is a club winner for each series, and the prize is bragging rights for the season. Racing is conducted on a handicap system to make for some exciting finishes. You don’t have to be a member to participate in the weekly races, but you do have to be a member to be a part of the point scoring series.

Races are designed to last about an hour and the course is determined by wind conditions. The public is encouraged to come out and watch, either from the water or the shore. The stipulations for weekly races are that the temperature must be above 40 degrees, the wind must be over 6 and less than 20 miles per hour. If a wind advisory is issued, the race is cancelled.

The club hosts two regattas each year. (Mathis explained to me that a regatta is a pretty big race.) The Rush Hour Regatta will be Saturday, May 3rd, and the Rose Regatta usually coincides with the Rose Festival. These are all day events which start at 9am and last until about 5pm.

Roughly 22 boats participated in the last competition. Racers from the Shreveport and Longview Yacht Clubs often participate if the level of the lake is up. Anyone interested in coming out to watch should contact the TYC to get information about the best places to do that.

People in the area who would like to learn to sail through the TYC are encouraged to send them an e-mail expressing their interest. The next step is joining a crew to literally learn the ropes. Many members are happy to have people on their boats and love to teach. Mathis himself got into sailing this way.

The TYC is constantly doing projects to improve the facility including maintaining the docks, building up the seawall, painting the clubhouse, staining the deck, etc. The club also allows the Boy Scouts to come out and help with projects, as well as sail.

The club membership is a family membership and there are quite a few women who participate in sailing as well as social events. This year’s Vice Commodore is Cyndi Bolding.

The TYC hosts many social events for its members. This year’s calendar of events included a Christmas wine and cheese party, a Mardi Gras party, a St. Patrick’s Day party, and a crawfish boil. Upcoming is a Cinco de Mayo party, a summer luau, and an Oktoberfest party. The club pays for the food, and members bring desserts, appetizers, and their own drinks. Some events are more adult oriented, but most are intended to be social and family friendly.

In addition to sailing, members use the facility to kayak, play volleyball, swim, play, and enjoy the clubhouse, which is impressive. It has a full kitchen, a microwave, a fireplace, a comfortable lounging area, books, and separate men’s and women’s restrooms. Outside is a large deck with three picnic tables and lots of chairs. Next to the building is a nice sized grill. One of the perks of membership in the TYC is the ability to reserve the clubhouse for private events.

Membership fees include a $40 per month charge, as well as slip/storage fees, which Mathis describes as, “stupid cheap,” compared to other facilities in the area. But like any other hobby, sailing has expenses.

The TYC currently has 70 members, and membership is capped at 75 members, according to club bylaws. The cap is based on available space.

To become a member, a person needs five references from other members. The way to get those references is to come out and sail, meet members, and participate in the club’s social events.

Around East Texas

903 Music Fest Coming October 12th-13th

The 903 Music Fest:

10 Bands on 1 Stage in 2 Days

Introducing…The 2018 903 Music Fest! There will be 10 bands on 1 Stage in 2 days!

Music starts at 6pm on Friday, October 12th, and 12 noon on Saturday, October 13th. This new family and community focused event features a number of different musical genres performed by locally, nationally, and internationally-known artists.

Friday night’s headliner is Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. Saturday night’s headliner is Clint Black. Friday night Casey James and Sam Hyman Band will perform. Saturday Tusk, The Molly Ringwalds, Dagnabbit, Chad Cook Band, Akeem Kemp, and The Mansion Family will be on stage.

Tickets range from $20-$375. This will be held in Downtown Longview at Methvin and Green Streets. For more info or tickets go to

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East Texas State Fair Returns Sept. 21st-30th!


East Texas State Fair to Bring Lots of Festivities!

The 2018 East Texas State Fair takes place September 21st-30th in Tyler.

The annual East Texas State Fair is set to host an estimated 250,000 visitors during the ten-day event to enjoy concerts, shows, rides, food, exhibits, and much more. Here’s a look at just some of the festivities to come:

Sheldon Casavant, Magician: World-renowned magician Sheldon Casavant takes the stage in the historic Mayfair building for an amazing show full of laughter, thrills, and impressive illusions. The show is featured each night during the fair at 8pm. The show is set to be as impressive as the 100-year-old building it’s hosted in. The historic Mayfair building was built in the late 1920’s and has seen musicians such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and so many more. While the building hasn’t been used in many years, fair organizers are opening it up once again for this spectacular show. Every Day.

The Craft Beer Tour: New to the fair this year the craft beer tour is an event you don’t want to miss. Craft breweries from all over Texas will gather in the upscale venue to present their beers to the public. For just $15 you can purchase a passport to sample up to 24 different beers from all over the State of Texas. So gather your friends and embark on a craft beer adventure. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the Fair.

The Summit: The ultimate party in the heart of the Fair! The Summit is an all-new venue for live music, beer, margaritas, and a great place to hang out with friends and family. The Summit stage will feature live local music from artist such as Ray Johnston Band, Billie Jo Sewell, Holly Tucker, Sabrina Toole, and many more. Every Day:

September 21st

  • 4-4:45pm: Hanah & Hailee’s Scatter Proof Band
  • 8:45-10:15pm: The Bluez Boys

September 22nd

  • 5-6:45pm: Amy Holden
  • 8:45-10:15pm: Billie Jo

September 23rd

  • 1-4pm: Sabrina Toole
  • 4:30-6:30pm: Ray Johnston Band
  • 8:45-10:15pm: The Tuxedo Cats

September 25th

  • 6-7:45pm: TJC Jazz Band

September 26th

  • 8:45-10:15pm: Jericho March

September 27th

  • 6-6:30pm: UT Tyler Spirit Squad
  • 7-7:45pm: UT Tyler Jazz Ensemble
  • 9:30-10:15pm: Cilbra

September 28th

  • 8:45-10:15pm: Brian Chance Band

September 29th

  • 5-6:45pm: Billie Jo with Hunter Douglas
  • 8:45-10:15pm: Holly Tucker

September 30th

  • 4-10:30pm: La Invasora Conjunto Fest

Chili Cook-Off: Come enjoy samples of chili from over 30 different teams as they compete for the prize of “Grand Champion.” It’s going to be a great place to hang out with live music, cold beer, and plenty of delicious chili. Interested in having a team of your own? Gather your friends, family, co-workers, etc. and register to compete. Sunday, September 23rd beginning at 9am.

Sea Lion Splash: Sea Lion Splash is a unique show that will have crowds cheering and laughing. It’s an educational show with a “splash.” The sea lions will amaze the crowd as they balance balls, shoot hoops, dance, perform stunts, and show their pretty smiles. This is the only show in the U.S. to feature both California and South American sea lions.

Timberworks: You’ll love this fast-paced thrilling show as two authentic lumberjacks go head-to-head in a variety of competitions. These include log rolling, cross-cut sawing, hot sawing, axe throwing, chainsaw carving, chopping, and speed pole climbing. Timberwork’s Lumberjack Show offers spectators a unique blend of logging history, world class competition, and plenty of hilarious comedy. Every Day.

The Sound Exchange: The Sound Exchange is a five member a cappella group bringing dazzling harmonies, and wise-cracking audience interaction together in a whirlwind a cappella experience that is not to be missed. Whether you love soulful ballads, blistering rock anthems, jazz standards, or chart-topping singles…. or, perhaps you just love to laugh and have fun. Then, you’re in for a treat with the hijinks & harmonies of The Sound Exchange. Every Day

That’s not all! The Fair will be full of a variety of exhibits, attractions, rides, games, and more. From fair favorites like the petting zoo, pony rides, and the legendary food row to a variety of exhibits like AgriWorld, Creative Arts, and The Marketplace there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

This impressive lineup of all things new to do at the Fair will not disappoint- there’s truly something for everyone. And let’s not forget all the favorite returning attractions:

The Great American Petting Zoo: This petting zoo is unlike any other- held within a 1,200 square foot enclosure, each animal runs freely with the public once inside. A favorite among kiddos, these friendly animals- all hand raised here in Texas- make for a ton of fun in this barrier-free petting zoo. The space is kept immaculately clean, and trained petting zoo staff are always available for any questions. Open every single day of the Fair, find more info here:

The Pony Rides: Your kid will thank you for this one! Come let them experience a real live pony ride, carousel style. For $5, these beautiful, purebred Welsh ponies will take your kiddos for a ride they won’t soon forget. Presented by Pony Express of Texas, these local ponies are safe, clean, and a whole lotta fun. Happening everyday of the fair, find more info here:

Carnival Rides and Games: As always, the Fair won’t leave you hanging if you’re in need of some thrill or friendly competition. You’ll find tons of exciting rides like The Freak Out, The Tornado, and The Ring of Fire, along with plenty of gaming fun this year at the Fair. For detailed schedule and pricing info, head here:

Legendary Food Row: Mac & Cheese Fries, Chocolate Covered Fried Bacon, Chili Dogs, Turkey Legs, 4 Meat Baked Potato, Fried Cheesecake…need we say more? The options available at Food Row are endless- wear your comfy pants and your maybe belt a tad loose, because everyone knows there’s no such thing as a diet during the Fair. This is the real deal, folks- find a list of all the different vendors and food offerings here (it’s crazy long!):

A Ride Share: a special new drop-off lane for coming and going to the fair, made for guests who use a Rideshare service for transportation instead of driving themselves. That’s right folks: this is the year that Fair parking woes and hassles will finally come to an end, leaving you with more important things to worry about (like whether to order a smoked turkey leg or funnel cake..or both.)

“Our goal is to take some of the strain off of our parking lots and make it easier for visitors to come and go safely. The lane will literally drop you off right at the North gate. You’ll step out of your car and walk right in!” -Cody Rosenbalm, Director of Marketing at Park of East Texas.



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