“The woods of East Texas and Arkansas helped shape me into the man I am today.” That about sums it up for avid sportsman and Texarkana native Ryan Yarnell. Hunting and adventure have been a way of life for him since his earliest memories, and he has turned his love for the outdoors into an incredible career—traveling to some of the most beautiful places in America and beyond.
To read more about Ryan, make sure you check out “Blind Living.”
What is your favorite Texarkana memory?
Y2K. It snowed a lot in Texarkana and the power was out. My friend Justin White, and his now wife Kelli, stayed up all night waiting to see if the world was going to end, riding four wheelers, and eating cold Wolf brand chili out of the can.
Also, during the ice storm of 2000, my friend Jared Gibson and I went from house to house with chain saws trying to clear roads and driveways for all the neighbors and folks around town. It was a hard situation, but it was really cool how everyone in Texarkana was working together and helping each other out.
Where was your favorite place to eat in Texarkana?
It was Bryce’s until it closed. Now, it would be Naaman’s BBQ and I never miss an opportunity to have Jared Gibson buy me lunch there when I am home.
What was the teen hangout when you lived here?
The Bottoms. I could tell a million stories about that place, but I don’t think they would be appropriate!
Were you a Hawk, Leopard, Razorback or Tiger?
I was a Texas High Tiger. I remember the year we beat Arkansas High 28-15.
How do you describe Texarkana to your friends?
A wonderful town I grew up in, with beautiful hardwood bottoms, pine tree groves, and some of the best hunting and fishing a kid could ever want.
What do you think makes Texarkana famous?
The Legend of Boggy Creek. Besides that, I didn’t know it was famous!
Who is someone from Texarkana who impacted your life?
Besides my father, another man I have always looked up to and seen as a mentor is John King. He had a very adventurous life, has always been a man of faith, gave me sound advice about life, and is a great hunting buddy.
What do you love about Texarkana?
The surrounding outdoor environment.
What is your nickname for Texarkana?
What do you miss about Texarkana?
What words do you live by?
One of my values in life is helping anybody in my path who needs it.
TXK Roots is Texarkana Magazine’s forum to highlight and honor Texarkana natives who have accomplished big things in the world. These folks may have relocated, but they took the values, education, work ethic and creativity instilled in them by growing up in this unique border city and used these qualities to blaze extraordinary trails. We asked them to share their thoughts about growing up here. No matter how far from Texarkana they may find themselves, we will always consider them our neighbors and we are proud to claim them as forever members of our extended Texarkana community. After all, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”