Autographed Longhorn Ball To Be Raffled

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On Super Bowl Sunday, some lucky sports fan is going to walk away with a nifty autographed football signed by all the members of the 1998 PHS state championship football team, a team poster and a video tape -- complete with player interviews -- of the 29-20 conquest of Blue Ridge.

While the lucky fan is packing away the winnings, he or she will be satisfied knowing the proceeds from the raffle is helping two great causes -- the Gila County Sheriff's Office newly founded Youth Recognition Program and PHS football.

The concept of raffling off the football, poster and video originated in the offices of Gila County Chief Deputy Byron Mills only days after the Longhorns won the state championship.

Looking for ways to provide financial support for the department's Youth Recognition Program and Longhorn football, sheriff's officers dreamed up the benefit raffle.

A special autograph-style football was obtained and signed by all members of championship team. It also features a nifty replica of a Longhorn mascot and special inscribed words "1998 State Champions."

A team picture was enlarged into a poster and the tape, plus interviews, of the game donated by Bob West of Sports Cassette Production in Scottsdale.

Tickets will soon be for sale at $1 each or six for $5. The raffle items will be on display at various places around town.

One of the locations the prizes can be seen and tickets purchased will be the Payson Roundup.

Mills is also soliciting local service clubs and business to help participate in the event.

He says the raffle is an excellent way to help support the department's Youth Recognition Program and PHS football.

The YRP was founded last spring and honors student athletes throughout Gila Country for their good citizenship and athletic/academic achievements.

Stephanie Robertson, Cable Morris and Josh Barnhart were PHS's first honorees.

If the raffle is a booming success, Mills said, it's possible that YRP scholarships could be forthcoming.

Putting money where their ambitions are, Mills and his deputies purchased the first raffle tickets Tuesday afternoon with a fresh, crisp $100 bill.

Mills says if the department wins the raffle, the prizes will be donated back to Payson High School.

Final plans for the raffle will be finalized soon and published in upcoming editions of the Payson Roundup.

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