Tourism director sends “a million thank yous” to those who made 30th Anniversary Tour de Paris a success

The Lamar County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director, Becky Semple, sent in to a letter that she’s written to thank the many volunteers and individuals that work so diligently and tirelessly each year to make the Tour de Paris a success.

tour-de-paris-2013This year, according to Semple, the event — which also celebrated its 30th anniversary — was a “grand success”.

This year’s Tour de Paris bicycle rally was held on Saturday, July 19, and began at 8am. The in-town route had been changed from previous years in an attempt to avoid most of the railroad tracks.

Cyclists from all over came to participate in the race, which had four routes available — the 35K (20 miles), the 60K (35 miles); the 90K (57 miles) or the 110K (68 miles). The race started and finished at the Love Civic Center, giving participants the chance to see the wonderful scenery that Northeast Texas has to offer.

On all routes there were friendly rest-stops (made possible by the many volunteers and sponsors that this ‘thank you’ letter is being extended to) located at different points along the way, giving riders the opportunity to enjoy a free, homemade hamburger, water and fruit smoothies.

A special Spaghetti Supper was held for the cyclists on the Friday evening before the Tour de Paris started.

For more information about the Tour de Paris, visit the website at or visit the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce website,

The following words are written by Semple to extend some much needed and public gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of those that made possible the successful event that brings so many to Paris each year.

A million “Thank Yous” for making our 30th Anniversary of Tour de Paris such a Grand Success!!

To the most WONDERFUL and DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS in the world!

We are so grateful to all of you and many more for all you did to make the 30th Anniversary of Tour de Paris Bicycle Rally a tremendous success!!

You spent months helping us prepare and finalize plans for his great event!

You made sure every cyclist was safe!

You worked on signage, and then you put out signs in town and all over the county. You made sure the cyclist knew every step of the way how to go!

Then you went back and made sure the signs were ok, and then you took them down!

You worked on streets and county roads filling pot holes and sweeping off gravel!

You cut low hanging limbs that might deter a cyclist on their ride!

You covered railroad tracks to keep flats from happening on 4th and Washington!

You put out many, many barricades!

You worked on the Trails both in Paris and Reno to make them safe!

You ran up and down the route all day until every cyclist was in!

You sponsored this event and made generous donations in product and monetary support!

You marketed our event to cyclists in your data base all over Texas and beyond!

You helped us to pre-register cyclists days before the event!

You donated goodie bags!

You donated neat items from your businesses for the goodie bags!

You stuffed the ‘goodie’ bags!

You helped set up the Civic Center for Tour de Paris for days and days!

You played music downtown and they loved being in a parade!

You honored us by coming a long distance to present the colors of our nation!

You held the American flag to wave proudly as every cyclist entered downtown!

You stood in the streets, and while protecting the cyclists you cheered them on!

You provided communication stations at every rest stop and other locations to keep track of how things were going!

You smiled and greeted each cyclist at registration and helped him or her in a timely manner both on Friday night and early Saturday morning!

You prayed for their safety!

You cut up fruit and arranged the refreshments before any cyclist reached your stop!

You took supplies to the rest stops and watched for weary cyclists!

You managed a Rest Stop, and you smiled, waved, and greeted each and every one even if they didn’t stop! They were impressed with that I will assure you!

You made your rest stop unique and fun!

You picked up, and brought back supplies and then returned many items that were borrowed!

You fixed flats!

You tenderly nursed a scraped knee!

You furnished dozens and dozens and dozens of the best cookies anywhere, and they were ALL appreciated!

You promoted and talked about the rally for months!

You took brochures to other rides around Texas and other states!

You helped with jerseys and socks, and sells were good!

You made a delicious chicken spaghetti supper for cyclists and volunteers to enjoy with all the trimmings!

You cooked a pancake breakfast for Champions!

You made fruit smoothies!

You grilled hundreds of hamburgers!

You made the hamburgers to order for each cyclist and volunteer, and we hope you got too eat one too!

You organized, counted and recounted and folded hundreds of shirts!

You followed cyclists all the way in to the finish!

You stayed after all had left and helped to clean up!

You continued to help sort through and return items on Monday and Tuesday of this week

You gave many hours of your precious time to make this event the best ever!

We heard many, many compliments through out the day Saturday, and from Melissa, Gina, Judy, Randy, Kem, and myself, we are truly grateful for YOU because YOU are the reason why people love to come to Paris and participate in Tour de Paris year after year!

God bless you ALL!

Becky :)

Big Gun & Knife Show photo gallery

IMG_7910The annual Big Gun & Knife Show, which is the Valley of the Caddo Museum & Cultural Center’s main fundraiser, was held at the Love Civic Center on Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds of people came through to buy, sell or trade guns, ammunition, knives and many other things available.

All the proceeds raised at the show go toward the opening of the Valley of the Caddo Museum & Cultural Center, scheduled for October 4.

Valley of the Caddo board member Don McCaskill is shown holding the AR-15 that was raffled away and won by Matthew Sheldon.

Valley of the Caddo board member Don McCaskill is shown holding the AR-15 that was raffled away and won by Matthew Sheldon.

The mission of the museum and cultural center is to represent the history and culture of the four northeastern Texas counties — Lamar, Fannin, Red River, and Delta. In an attempt to promote academic knowledge and education in areas of local history, archaeology, astronomy and the arts.

The VoCM&CC raffled a Bushmaster 90391 XM-15 AR-15 Carbine ORC, which is a semiautomatic assault rifle with a 16″ barrel. The winning ticket was drawn by the Lila Lanning, granddaughter of Lamar County Probation director and VoCM&CC chairman, Jimmy Don Nicholson. The name on this winning ticket was that of Matthew Sheldon of Pecan Gap, Texas.

Along with all the guns and knives and crafts, the United States Air Force had their ‘Rapid Strike’ full-motion simulator ride that was available for anyone to ride for free. The simulator immerses you in the high-tech world of the U.S. Air Force.

While inside the ‘Rapid Strike’ simulator, participants experienced real Air Force missions from a first-person perspective, including an F-22 flight, C-17 cargo drop and Combat Controller ground surveillance. The ride lasted approximately seven minutes, and there were no age restrictions, although children under the age of 13 were to ride with a parent or legal guardian.

If you are a gun or knife enthusiast, don’t miss next year’s Big Gun and Knife show. The proceeds are for a great cause that will benefit generations for years to come.

(Click thumbnails to enlarge photos) – By Josh Allen, eParisExtra

City Council Meets Tonight

Sue Lancaster

Sue Lancaster

The Paris City Council will meet in regular session tonight, Monday, July 28th at 5:30pm at the City Council Chamber, located at 107 E. Kaufman Street. The meeting is open to the public and will include a citizen’s forum.

Tonight the city council is to receive and possibly take action on the report from the Paris Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) on the forensic investigation.

Also on the agenda, is a request from Councilwoman Sue Lancaster to receive copies of preliminary reports from Defenbaugh & Associates, the firm hired by former Chair of the PEDC Rebecca Clifford to conduct the forensic investigation.

Other items on the regular agenda tonight is a report from the City Attorney regarding the duties and responsibilities of Council Members; a presentation and discussion with possible action on the proposed amendments to the FY 2013-14 budget and the proposed FY 2014-15 budget for the PEDC; discussion with possible action on awarding a contract to the lowest bidder for the construction of water and sewer lines; discussion and advise the staff on the Valley of the Caddo Museum building requests; a presentation and discussion and provide direction to city staff on the FY 2014-15 budget for the city of Paris.

The Council will also convene into Executive Session this evening.


Kevin Dawson Receives Eagle Scout Award

Kevin Dawson Eagle ScoutKevin Dawson, 16, son of Laura and Dennis Dawson of Powderly, and grandson of Jerry Dawson and the late Mary Dawson, Helen Short and the late J.C. Short, of Boy Scout Troop 2 of the NeTseO Trails Council was honored at a special Eagle Scout ceremony Sunday, July 20th at 3:00 pm at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.

To earn Scouting’s highest award, Kevin had to earn 21 merit badges, serve as a leader in his troop, and complete a major community service project.  To date, Kevin has earned 47 merit badges.  His Scoutmaster, Mike Taylor will present the award.

Kevin’s service project took place at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.  Leading 25 Scouts and adults, Kevin built a grotto for a statue of the Virgin Mary behind the church, erected two benches for seating and landscaped the area surrounding the grotto.  The project took two months to complete with more than 200 hours logged.

Kevin has been a Boy Scout in Troop 2, chartered by Calvary United Methodist Church, for 4 years and was a Cub Scout in Pack 12, chartered by Lamar Avenue Church of Christ for 5 years.  He is a member of Order of the Arrow Loquanne Allangwh Lodge 428.

He has completed the Order of the Arrow National Leadership seminar in Davis, OK and BSA National Youth Leadership training in Gary, TX.

Kevin is a sophomore at North Lamar High School.  He is a member of the NLHS marching band, played on the NLHS Freshmen baseball team and is a member of the NLHS Varsity Swim Team.  He has played tenor trombone in the Paris Municipal Band, is a junior volunteer at Paris Regional Medical Center and a member of the Paris Aquatic Center summer swim team.


Road and Bridge Repairs begin July 16 on Loop 286 at Stillhouse Road in Paris

TxDOT_Color_LOGOBeginning today, Wednesday, July 16, weather permitting, the contractor O. Trevino LLC, Roanoke, Texas, will set up and use alternating lane closures in both directions of travel while repairing North Loop 286 at the Stillhouse Road overpass in Paris.

“The contractor will repair the concrete road slabs on the approaches to the bridge, and make some repairs to the bridge itself,” said Richard Harper, TxDOT area engineer based in Paris. “The lane closures and bridge repairs will alternately affect east- and west-bound traffic at this location.

“In either direction of travel there will be at least one lane open for traffic at all times. We expect the contractor to complete the work in about six weeks, so these lane closures will be in effect for a while.”

Motorists who travel on this portion of North Loop 286 are asked to slow down and drive to road conditions, obey all traffic control devices and flaggers, and to proceed cautiously in either direction of travel while the repairs are underway.

For more information, call (903) 737-9213 or contact