POTTSBORO — Lake Texoma businesses, marinas and other stakeholders came out to celebrate and support the Lake Texoma Association Thursday when the organization held its annual Bash for Cash. The annual gathering, which serves as one of the main fundraisers, took visitors from the lake to Las Vegas with a casino night theme for 2017.

“This brings in about a quarter of our budget each year,” LTA Executive Director Terri Weir said Thursday. “We get a little bit from the state and membership dues, but this is really important for us.”

For its 2017 fundraiser, the LTA hosted a casino night complete with slots, blackjack and other games of skill and chance. Chips and earnings could be used for a chance to win many donated prizes and other services. In addition to the raffles, the LTA also held a silent auction to raise funds.

For more than 60 years, the organization has represented business and recreational interests another the lake through promotion and marketing. The LTA also maintains an information center for the lake in Kingston, Oklahoma, Weir said.

“We consider ourselves one of the main sources of information on Lake Texoma,” she said.

In addition to this, the organization has helped lobby for lake interests with both the Texas and Oklahoma state governments, private organizations and federal groups. In recent years, these efforts have included a focus on lake water levels, hydropower generation and flood control.

Weir said 2017 has proved to be a good year for lake interests in its first five months. She said business has been strong, and built on what was a successful 2016.

“Last year was a good year, but it was after two years of flooding,” she said.

In 2015, heavy rains inundated the region leading to Lake Texoma topping the spillway twice in the same season. This lead to record-breaking lake levels and severe flood damage to many lakeside properties and area businesses.

Among those celebrating Thursday night was Tom Wootton, owner of Buncomb Creek Marina. Not only was Wootton there to celebrate the LTA, but Thursday was also the 29th anniversary of the opening of his marina. In those years, Wootton said he has seen both feast and famine, but “a lot more famine than feast.”

“This has been a good year,” Wootton said. “Certainly a whole lot better than '15 was.”

When asked how the LTA helps with his marina and other area businesses, Wootton said they have served as advocates for the lake many times.

“If you don't have someone watching out for you, people will take it all away from you,” he said.