Katy Vine's Profile Photo

Katy Vine joined the editorial staff of Texas Monthly in 1997 and became a staff writer in 2002. As a general assignment reporter, she has written dozens of features on a range of topics including rocket scientist Franklin Chang Díaz, hip-hop legend Bun B, barbecue pit masters, cult leader Warren Jeffs, refugees in Amarillo, the moon landing, the Kilgore Rangerettes, a three-person family circus, chess prodigies, an accountant who embezzled $17 million from a fruitcake company, and a con man who crashed cars, yachts, and planes for insurance money. Her stories have been anthologized in Best American Sports Writing and Best Food Writing. Her feature story about a West Texas sting operation was the inspiration for the 2012 television series The Client List.

Travel & Outdoors |
January 21, 2013

The Lighthouse Drive

ROUTE: Port Arthur to Port AransasDISTANCE: 308 milesNUMBER OF COUNTIES: 11WHAT TO BRING: A pair of binocularsI started as far east as you can go on the Gulf Coast and still be in Texas. And since the Sabine Pass Lighthouse, which is technically across the state line in Louisiana, is

BBQ |
January 21, 2013

Of Meat and Men

John Mueller was the heir to one of the great Texas barbecue dynasties. Aaron Franklin was an unknown kid from College Station who worked his counter. John had it all and then threw it all away. Aaron came out of nowhere to create the state’s most coveted brisket. Then John

Feature |
January 21, 2013

With God On Their Side

The child custody battle between the State of Texas and a fundamentalist Mormon sect prompted many people to wonder how 437 kids could have been ripped away from their parents. When the criminal trials of a dozen sect members got under way this month, the question became, Was it really

Feature |
January 21, 2013

The Birdman of Texas

Victor Emanuel can find you a hooded warbler, a horned guan, or maybe even an Eskimo curlew. But his real genius is that he can get you to really look at a grackle.

Texas History |
January 20, 2013

“Oh, My God! It’s Our Children!”

On March 18, 1937, the residents of New London, southeast of Tyler, endured the worst small-town tragedy in U.S. history: an explosion at the combined junior-senior high school that killed some three hundred students and teachers.

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Alive and Kicking

Although some might consider the Kilgore Rangerettes an anachronism, every summer dozens of fresh-faced teens from around the state flock to East Texas to perfect a seemingly effortless hat-brim-touching high kick—and preserve one of the state's great traditions.

Letter From Amarillo |
January 20, 2013

Almost Famous

When Jacob Isom swiped a Quran from an angry evangelist, he figured a few of his friends would enjoy the prank. Two months and one million YouTube views later, his life may never be the same.

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

I Believe I Can Fry

How a mild-mannered database analyst from Dallas became the undisputed king of extreme competitive deep-frying in Texas—which is to say, the world.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Scenes From A Mall

And not just any mall. The Marq*E Entertainment Center is a marvel of marketing: a teen-friendly hangout where kids from all over the city flock to shop, flirt, skateboard, and otherwise act their age.

Reporter |
January 20, 2013

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Katie Wernecke is many things: a precocious, freckle-faced Bible-drill champ; the valedictorian of her seventh-grade class in Banquete; and—since she was diagnosed with cancer last year—a pawn in the custody battle that pits her parents against the State of Texas.

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Bass-O-Matic

How a fish called Ethel (seventeen pounds, ten ounces) caught by a fishing guide named Mark (Stevenson, in 1986, on Lake Fork) revolutionized a once-sleepy sport.

Web Exclusive |
January 20, 2013

Fundamental Arguments

On October 26, the first FLDS criminal trial in Texas begins. What legal strategies remain for the defense?

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

The Biggest Burger Ever

It may well be at Arnold’s, in Amarillo. Think twenty pounds of unseasoned meat and some forty slices of American cheese (if you please). Can anyone say “supersize”?

Web Exclusive |
January 20, 2013

Keep it Simple

Last week, I caught up with Steve Bett, the editor of the Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society and moderator of a discussion group on Foolswisdom. Bett is a retired professor living in Austin who joined the 99-year-old international organization in the late eighties believing, as most simplified

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Check Mates

Fernando Spada and Fernando Mendez are the Karpov and Kasparov of Brownsville: chess champions whose lifelong competition has produced a rivalry every bit as fierce as those of Ali and Frazier, McEnroe and Borg, or Nicklaus and Palmer. Did I mention that they’re in the fourth grade?

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

Taylor: Louie Mueller Barbecue

Forty-nine years of post oak coals in the pit have smoke-cured the building, which previously housed a ladies’ basketball court and a grocery market. Louie moved in with his barbecue business in 1959; his son, Bobby, took over more than three decades ago, but not a thing has suffered from

Travel & Outdoors |
January 20, 2013

Museums

Bronzes by Remington and Russell in Orange, Quanah Parker’s trail bonnet in Canyon: Ten spaces that excel at the art of exhibition.

Feature |
September 30, 2011

Non-Prophet

When Warren Jeffs fired his attorneys and decided to represent himself in his sexual assault trial, many predicted, accurately, that he would fail miserably. Few realized just what a wild show he would put on.

Music |
May 31, 2011

The Apprentice

Carrying on the legacy of the legendary musician Steve Jordan isn’t easy, especially when you’re only 22 years old and blind. But Juanito Castillo is too busy reinventing the conjunto accordion to care.

Music |
April 30, 2011

He Lost a Good Thing

Huey P. Meaux, one of the most successful and significant record producers in Texas history, died last weekend at age 82. He leaves a legacy marked by brilliant songs and some very bad decisions.

Letter From Austin |
March 31, 2010

Fear Less

Can new research predict which soldiers will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder—and which won’t?

Health |
January 1, 2010

Mother, Heal Thyself

Susan Hyde’s children were constantly in and out of the hospital with one illness or another. But were they the ones who were sick?

Texas History |
July 20, 2009

Walking on the Moon

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history as the first humans to set foot on the surface of the moon. Forty years later, the researchers, astronauts, engineers, scientists, and NASA officials who made the voyage possible remember the day the Eagle landed.

Web Exclusive |
June 30, 2009

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Bob Hudgins, director of the Texas Film Commission, talks to Katy Vine about the “Waco” controversy, tax incentives, and how to get your movie made in Texas.

Feature |
May 31, 2009

Hello to a River

Location: The Frio, outside LeakeyWhat You’ll Need: Inner tube, groceriesI was promised no mosquitoes. The little buggers had just started to attack back home in Austin, and as I smacked my first one of the season against the wall (making a mess but impressing my husband and

Letter From Lubbock |
April 30, 2009

High Plains Snifter

After 118 years, Lubbock finally appears ready to allow liquor stores inside the city limits—unless a shutter salesman and a handful of Baptists can turn back the clock.

Web Exclusive |
March 1, 2009

Let’s Talk About Sex

Ninety-four percent of Texas high school students receive abstinence-only education. More than half of these teens are losing their virginity. So what do the majority of Texans really want their kids to know about sex? 

Web Exclusive |
February 1, 2009

Music Man

So Raising Sand, the collaborative album between Robert Plant and Alison Kraus, produced by Fort Worth native T Bone Burnett, cleaned house with five trophies at Sunday night’s Grammys. Was anyone besides me not surprised? I guess it could have been a disaster, with all the egos involved, but anything

Web Exclusive |
January 1, 2009

Legalize It?

The El Paso City Council may override the mayor’s veto to create a debate on the current U.S. drug policies. In these interviews, the mayor, council members, and others explain their views.

Web Exclusive |
December 1, 2008

Slow to Evolve

The reason so many Texans testified in favor of strong language supporting evolution in the TEKS is because they’re having to play defense and they’re losing.