What does the word "Mazatzal" mean to you? To me, when I hear the word, I think of the range of mountains that run south and west of Payson. The same goes for the Rim. They are geographical locations, not businesses. If some businesses are named after them, oh well.
So when I read the letters from Joe Adcock and others about what to name the new event center and the building of the grand entrance to the event center, if one is ever built, I couldn't help but write a few things on their comments. If they are talking about the money the Tonto Apache Tribe has offered and that if they gave the money they wanted the event center named Mazatzal Event Center (which the last I heard was not a done deal), then let me say, why not?
As far as I am concerned and for all the people I have talked to, it does not matter what the place is called; it will still be the home of the Payson rodeo. We would just like to see something get done instead of all the BS and buckpassing, so that the different events can start happening and help pay for the event center as well as generate business for the town.
As far as the prestige of the rodeo, the name of the event center or the name on the entrance won't mean a thing to the cowboys that come here to compete. The prize money is what they are after, just like the cowboys that competed down on Main Street so many years ago.
I know this will be the fourth time the arena will have been moved in my lifetime due to "progress," and there was never this much trouble -- people just showed up on Saturday morning and got the job done.
I feel that if this was just a question of a rodeo arena getting moved or built that it would already have been done, and we would be attending rodeos there. It is true that a big grand entranceway will not improve the rodeo, and when the Tonto Apaches offered the money they probably didn't mean for it all to be spent on an entrance gate.
I was born and raised here and I am real proud for the Tonto Apache Tribe and what gaming has done for their reservation and their people. I know that a few years ago when there was such poverty on the reservation and they lived in shacks without running water, they never dreamed that someday they would be able to offer such a substantial amount of money to the Town of Payson for anything.
I see where they donate and sponsor a lot of other things for the town and the schools.It seems to me that they don't have to do that; they could build their own schools and rodeo arenas and such and keep all of their gaming money right on the reservation.
I can't help but wonder if the casino was owned and operated by the Town of Payson or the people of the Rim country, would they do the same for the Apache tribe?
I for one want to take the opportunity to say "Thank You" to the tribe for offering the money in the first place. If I was a member of the tribe and giving a quarter of a million dollars to the Town of Payson for their event center, I would want it called Tonto Apache Event Center, Home of the World's Oldest Rodeo. So how about cutting all the BS and let's get something done!
Leckie Jean Lopatesky