Sailors Competing in the 2014 Great Texas 300

Team Bios for the 2014 competitors

Here are bios for the teams sailing in the The Great Teaxas 300.  Get to know these sailors a little and why they sail in this extreme event. 

Team 2 Wire Sailing

John Tomko, Skipper, F-18 (C2), age 39, Canyon Lake, TX, Cabinet Maker.  John has sailed in all ten of the previous Great Texas races and won the race 6 times.  John is the top catamaran racer in the state of Texas and regularly finishes at the top of national events.  John will be sailing a C2 – he is the distributer for the boats in the Texas region.  John has been racing catamarans in the state of Texas since he was a teenager.

Ian Billings, Crew, F-18 (C2), age 47, Austin, TX, Engineer.  Ian has won the overall Great Texas trophy five times as crew – four times with current skipper, John Tomko and once with Dave Mimlitch.  Ian is originally from New Zealand and brings his island enthusiasm to everything he does.  He has crewed with John Tomko for the past six years and they have done very well both locally and nationally.


Team Sailboat Shop

Mike Rohrer, Skipper of Team Sailboat Shop, F-18, age 51, Cedar Park, TX, Engineer.  Mike has competed in 9 of the 10 Great Texas races and won the overall trophy once back in 2004 and narrowly missed the top spot in 2009 by 15 seconds.  Three years ago, Mike was diagnosed with colon cancer just prior to the race and had to have emergency surgery and 6 months of chemotherapy.   Mike’s cancer is thankfully in remission.  Not to be left behind, Mike has chosen to compete on the new C2 this year.  

Chris Holt, Crew of Team Sailboat Shop, F-18, age 39, Austin, TX, Software Engineer.  Chris has competed in nine Great Texas races as crew for Mike Rohrer.  He won the overall trophy in 2004 with Mike Rohrer.  Chris and Mike have been working hard to prepare for this year's race on the new C2 platform.

Team Monkey Business

Steve Piche, Skipper of Team Monkey Business, F-18 (C2), age 49, Austin, TX, Engineer.  Steve is the founder of the Great Texas and has sailed in every event.  (Steve is the only person that has completed every leg in the first 10 runnings of the GT.)   He has yet to win the overall championship but he has come close with a second place finish in 2008 and 2011.  Steve is famous for finishing with broken boat parts – he has logged more miles on the Great Texas using one rudder than anyone else.  Of course, this year he is hoping not to extend that record!  Steve was inspired to start the Great Texas after sailing in the Worrell 1000 in 2001 and 2002.

Juke Ball, Crew of Team Monkey Business, F-18 (C2), age 39, Austin, TX, Owner of Juke Automotive.  Juke has sailed in seven Great Texas’ (two with Michael Yost and ffive with Steve Piche).  Juke is originally from Australia and brings a gung ho Australian attitude to the race.  Juke is also owner of Juke Automotive which is a gold sponsor of the race.  Thanks Juke.

Team Quiksilver

Mike Beuerlein, Skipper of Team Quiksilver, F-18 (C2), age 54, Austin, TX, Financial Analyst.  Mike has sailed the Great Texas every year since the founding and has always been competitive (well, nearly always).  Mike is best known for introducing the famous Cuppie to the race.  You will often find Mike with his Cuppie in hand filled some concoction or another.  Lest he lose his cup, he has attached a lanyard to prevent such a disaster which has at times resulted in great humor when he has forgotten that the lanyard is connected to him.  Yes, we all enjoy Mike’s antics on and off the race course.  In 2013, Mike has officially "surrendered to the French" by adding team chef, Brigitte Benquet, to the team roster along side third year team mate, Philippe Bettler and team manger, Rick Nelson.  

Philippe Bettler, Crew of Team Quiksilver, F-18 (C2), age 44, Austin, TX, Marketing Specialist.  Philippe is sailing in his third Great Texas after sailing with Michael Yost two years ago.  Philippe is an excellent skipper himself often placing at the top at regattas in Texas.  Philippe is affectionately referred to as the Frog as he hails originally from the greatest country in the world, France (or at least that is his opinion).  We would debate that opinion but then when he starts to pull out the wine and food, we all start thinking he may be right!


Team Yo Baby!

Shannon Galway, Skipper of Team Yo Baby!, F-18, age 37, Houston, TX, Engineer.  Sailing on a C2, Shannon hopes to score gold in order to try to win the F-18 class on his fifth try in the Great Texas!   Shannon has sailed in many Ruff Riders and local regattas in Texas for years.  Shannon is our only real Texas oil man in the race - Shannon is often flying off to exotic places to work on rigs.

Jonathan Atwood, Crew of Team Yo Baby, F-18, age 23, Rockport, Texas, Recently graduated College Student.  Jonathan graduated from Texas A&M Galveston.  Having grown up in Rockport, Jonathan was sailing at a very young age.  He sailed for the A&M Varsity Sailing Team and has competed in many prestigious events including two Laser National Championships and most recently in the Melges 24 Worlds.  Jonathan was aboard Team Jack Flash’s maiden and second Great Texas.  Like Shannon, he has become hooked and is looking forward to competing again this year in the F18 class.

Team Chums

Lee Wicklund, Team Chums Skipper, Nacra 20, Age 44, League City, TX, Welder.  Lee will be sailing a Nacra 20 in his 10th GT 300. 2004 was the first year doing the race on a Hobie 21SE after having sailed multiple distance races on the West Coast. Upon finishing the 2004 GT 300, Lee decided to move to the Gulf Coast to be close to this type of extreme warm water sailing. Since 2004, Lee has completed nearly every leg of every GT300 with a class win in 2008 and 2011 which was two of the roughest years the race has seen. He has also raced in the Tybee 500 on the East Coast.. 
David Cerdas, Team Chums Crew, Nacra 20, Age 17, Galveston, TX, High school student.  David will be sailing his third GT 300. David and his Dad Jose Cerdas have both been a vital part of Team Chums and Team TCDYC in getting them to the start line and ultimately the podium. David is the youngest sailor to compete in the GT so far at the age of 15. David started sailing competitively with Lee two years ago and has demonstrated outstanding skill on the boat. David lives in Galveston, Texas and teaches youth sailing at his local boat club.



Chris Green Team TCDYC Skipper, F-18, Age 43, League City, TX, Project Engineer from League City Texas has been sailing beach cats since he first came to the USA in 2001. After starting out fun sailing on a Hobie 18 Magnum with his wife Karen they started racing in 2003 on a Hobie 18SX before moving on to the Hobie Tiger and then Wildcat. He currently sails a AHPC C2 - which he says is his favorite of all the cats he has sailed.  Chris has competed in 3 Hobie Tiger World Championships, and a couple of F18 North American Championships. He has sailed the Tybee 500 twice and this is his 7th Great Texas.  Chris is one of the founders of the Texas City Dike Yacht Club - an online beach cat sailing club with members in the Houston Galveston area. Chris is the club webmaster - running

Aaron McCulley, TCDYC Crew, F-18 age 44, Austin, TX, Pipe Bender.  Aaron is a multi-time entrant in the Great Texas as both skipper and crew.  In 2009, he took second as skipper in the event.  Aaron has sailed in numerous events around the country including the Tybee 500 where he and Chris Green won the famous to Tybee leg in the last Tybee 500. 


Team Blackburn Marine

Nick Maudlin, Blackburn Marine Skipper, F-18,  Nick grew up on Galveston Bay. He has been on the water from a very young age. He's followed in his dad's footsteps with his love for sailing. He started on optimist, moved up to lasers, 420's, j22, and big boats. He never wanted to be off the water and at 19 he had his 100 ton masters license and for past 7 years has been at Starfleet Yachts, the largest dinner boat company in the area. His love has always been with catamarans, which lead him to the GT300 for the first time.  

Casey Lambert, Blackburn Marine Crew, F-18  Casey grew up on Galveston Bay. As a toddler, Casey was tied to the mast of a Hobie on his dad's boat and not long after, he began sailing on his own. He started with sunfish, then began lasers, Hobies, j22, and raced on anything he could after that! Casey sailed J22 North American, Midwinters, and Worlds with his mom. This is his first GT300 and is excited to race with his cousin for Blackburn Marine!


Click here to go to day 3's recap and results


copyright © 2013 - 2014

Leave a Comment

Your Name:
Your Comment:
Verification PassPhrase
Type the letters above in the box below for verification:


Previous Comments

Test wrote on 06/5/2012: