Many of Arizona's top motorcycle riders will be in Payson this weekend to participate in the Canyon Offroad Park-sponsored freestyle motocross races at the rodeo grounds.
Practice sessions begin at 8 a.m. and racing begins at 10 a.m., both Saturday and Sunday.
According to COP officials, the racers will be performing tricks and jumping more than 30 feet in the air and up to 80 feet long.
Organizers say this is the first organized freestyle motocross race to be held in Payson.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Advanced tickets may be purchased locally from E&E Paving by calling 476-2092, or at Four Season Motorsports at 474-3411. Also, check out the COP Web site at copracing.com.
Homecoming faux pas
With students and alumni of PHS celebrating homecoming this week, memory keeps serving up a recollection of a mid-1980s celebration that included an "Opposite Sex Day."
The teenagers at Payson High School were asked to dress up in clothing appropriate for the opposite sex as part of the spirit-building activities.
I'm not sure why switching sexes builds spirit, but the day is usually one of the most popular homecoming activities.
In '85, Mark Velasco --a legitimate tough guy on the football team and a no-nonsense type of youngster -- decided he'd dress as a rather nice-looking young woman, who turned out to be reasonably eye-appealing.
But that's another story.
In changing gender, Mark also opted to be pregnant and stuffed the front of his dress with a good-sized pillow.
On campus and among the students he was an outrageous hit.
Now the rest of the story.
Seems The Payson Roundup decided to publish a front-page picture of then PHS principal Tom Meck -- who was toothing a wide grin --gingerly and sympathetically patting Mark's bulging tummy.
Mr. Meck's tongue-in-cheek gesture and the resulting picture didn't meet with smiles in some parts of our community.
If memory serves, the phone rang off the hook at The Roundup. People complained that unwed pregnancies were being condoned by the newspaper and school administration.
I think Mr. Meck also received more than a few phone calls -- especially from mothers of teenagers -- protesting the picture.
Pardon my sense of humor, but seeing one of the orneriest players on the football team walking around campus in a dress, high heels and nylon stockings had me in stitches.
I briefly considered digging up that old picture and rerunning it at the head of this column.
But then common sense prevailed.
If Matt Porr had remained in Payson, the youngster would be a senior member of the Longhorn football team. But at the conclusion of his seventh-grade year, his parents moved to Mesa and Matt is now playing wide receiver for Red Mountain.
Friday evening against Chandler, he returned a punt 56 yards to the Chandler 24-yard line that led to a score. His performance as a punt returner and wide receiver helped his team salvage a 21-10 come-from-behind victory.
The highlight of the week for young athletes will be the NFL/Gatorade Punt, Pass and Kick contest at 5 p.m., Oct. 8 on the Payson High School softball and baseball fields.
The event was originally scheduled for Sept. 23 but had to be rescheduled due to rain.
Recreation Coordinator Beth Kreider strongly urges youngsters to pre-register for the event at the recreation office at Green Valley Park.
The event allows boys and girls to showcase their skills in punting, passing and place kicking.
Scores will be based on distances and accuracy.
Anyone who would like more information or would like to volunteer to help score and measure distances, can call Kreider at 474-5242, ext. 7.