Kickoffs for the regular season are still a month away, but Rim country fans have two great opportunities for a sneak-peek at both collegiate and professionals play.
The Arizona Cardinals and their fabled quarterback Jake Plummer will begin pre-season practices July 29 on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Two-a-day practices are scheduled for 8:50 a.m. and 3:10 p.m. on most days. The Cardinals stay in Flagstaff until Aug. 19.
An hour-long drive north to Flagstaff will get you a free glimpse of the Cardinals as they prepare for their second successive postseason appearance. Youngsters seeking autographs might try catching the players as they exit Gabaldon Hall (formerly Ridge Hall) where the team is housed.
Before you set out for Flagstaff, call the team's hotline at (520) 523-2273 to see if there have been any last-minute practice changes.
College football fans will want to visit Camp Tontozona Aug. 11 to Aug. 21 to check out the Arizona State University Sun Devils as they prepare for PAC-10 play. At press time, the ASU coaching staff had not yet established practice schedules for their stay at Tontozona. Traditionally, however, the Devils engage in two-a-days beginning about 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Tontozona is located one mile east of Kohl's Ranch on Highway 260. The entrance road is well marked.
More football news
For the second successive year, a motorcycle caravan from the Valley will pass through Payson and Pine on its way to the Cardinals' training camp.
This year's "Cardinals Rock 'n' Roll Ride to Flagstaff" - sponsored by the team's flagship radio station KSLX - is set to begin at 8 a.m. at Chuy's Restaurant in Tempe.
Payson will serve as a pit stop for the riders at about 9:30 a.m. before the group arrives in Flagstaff before noon.
Upon arrival in Flagstaff, the caravan will receive a police escort to the NAU Skydome, enjoy a cookout and watch the Cards' afternoon practice.
Last year, about 150 riders participated, but organizers estimate this year's turnout will be far greater.
Highly promising golfer Billy Bob Hoyt, 13, continues to shine on the southwest section of the PGA youth tour.
After tying for third in the second-to-the-last summer tournament with an 82, he was invited to participate in the 1999 PING Arizona Junior Masters, Aug. 4 and 5 on the Wildfire Golf Course.
Billy Bob is also set to join his friend Brandon Kelly to play in the upcoming Junior Pick-a-Partner tournament that will be contested at Pebblebrook in Sun City.