Rim Country Middle School Maverick wrestling coach Jon Vick was rendered a shade of anger-red several years ago when the proceeds from a team-run concession stand had to be turned over to the school's general fund.
The money, the coach contended, was earned by the team and should have been earmarked for wrestling purposes only.
But because of state law, the money had to be put into the school's coffers.
Looking to uncover a way to retain any money the team earned, Vick came up with the idea of forming some type of organization that would oversee fund-raising and dispense the money to the program when and where needed.
From that, the Payson Youth Wrestling Booster Club was born.
This year, Marci Sanders is serving as vice-president of the organization and is spearheading a march to generate funds and develop new membership and sponsors.
She says she became active in the club because "the organization is an outstanding activity for our children, and our coaches and staff are some of the best around."
The PYWBC is open to youngsters grades eight and under.
Some of the group's goals, Sanders says, "are instilling a sense of pride, confidence and determination in our youngsters, (and) teaching teamwork along with hard work and the techniques and mental strategies that go along with the sport."
Through the efforts of the PYWBC, student athletes hopefully will "go on to high school level wrestling with the background they need to succeed not only in wrestling but in all areas," she says.
According to Sanders, 35 athletes participated in the program last year. The upcoming season, Vick predicts, could draw even more youngsters.
Where's the glitch?
The RCMS wrestling team participates in the White Mountain League and those meets are all funded by the school's athletic budgets.
Problems arise, Sanders says, when the youngsters participate in meets outside the WML arena.
"Unfortunately in the past, some wrestlers have been unable to attend away matches due to a lack of funds," she says. "As is usually the case, the school district does not have the funds available to satisfy all of the participants' needs in regards to travel and equipment costs."
That's when the parents, coaches and wrestling fans of the booster club come to the rescue and provide the needed funds.
PYWBC hopes "to raise the money needed to send all interested children to every match and tournament possible along with supplying the necessary equipment to participate safely," Sanders says.
The booster club, she says, is non-profit and "100 percent of what we raise goes back to the wrestlers."
How do they do it?
One of the ways the organization generates funds is by operating a food booth at the Payson rodeo each year. The booth, Sanders says, is PYWBC's main fund-raiser.
The club also conducts other fund-raisers throughout the year and at each displays a banner to thank all sponsors.
With the wrestling season only a few months away, Sanders says she is hoping even more individuals step up to become sponsors.
"We are asking for support," she says.
Individuals or organizations who would like to help, either financially or as a volunteer, may contact Sanders at 474-7072.