- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the Ninnescah Sailing Association in the landlocked state of Kansas, which doesn’t even have a big enough natural lake to take to the water.

But the construction of the Cheney Reservoir, which opened in 1965, and the members’ passion for sailing has overcome such challenges.

The organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1ChcQeh ) reported, and is doing everything it can to quell preconceived notions that it might be a wealthy yachting club.

The Cheney-based association is open to people of “all economic levels,” sailing instructor Kent Carter said.

In the mid-1990s, it changed its name from the Ninnescah Yacht Club to the Ninnescah Sailing Association. “We were called a yacht club, but we didn’t have any yachts,” said member Allyn Lamb. “We didn’t even have docks at first, so we pushed our boats out of the mud, and away we went.”

The group built its activity center from the ground up with volunteers working nights and weekends. Some of the initial members took out group loans to fund the first set of slips.

The Federal Bureau of Reclamation and the city of Wichita formed a joint partnership to fund construction of the Cheney Reservoir, which now provides the city with 70 percent of its water supply. The miles of shoreline are an added perk. Before the reservoir, Wichita-area sailors had to drive to Grand Lake in Oklahoma, said member Gregg Greenwood.

The nonprofit organization that began with eight members has grown to 180 members today.

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Online:

Ninnescah Sailing Association: ninnescah.org

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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