Break out the pompoms and school spirit, it's homecoming week in Longhorn land.
The fun-filled week of festivities will culminate Friday evening in old Payson High School gym with the school's annual dance to honor friends and alumni. The dance, sponsored by the wrestling club, will begin at 9:30 p.m. and continue until midnight.
Earlier that evening, at 7 p.m., the defending state champion Longhorn football team will host the Holbrook Roadrunners in a 3A East divisional clash.
During halftime, at least eight pairs of former PHS homecoming kings and queens, or their attendants, will escort the 1999 king and queen onto the field.
At 1:20 Friday afternoon, the Horn boys' and girls' teams will race against the Fountain Hills Falcons in Payson High's annual Sludge to the Judge cross country run. The winner of the matchup will take possession of a traveling trophy and will have the chance to defend it during the 2000 homecoming run.
At about 1:30 p.m., immediately after the cross country run, the homecoming parade will begin at Julia Randall Elementary School and proceed along its traditional Main Street route. The parade will end in the north high school parking lots after traveling along Meadow Street in front of Rim Country Middle School.
Traditionally, each PHS class builds a float for the parade and then anxiously awaits the judging to see who owns homecoming bragging rights for the school year. The schedule allows the students to build their entries in the school district bus barn yards from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Oct. 6 and 7.
Some ambitious students, however, ignore the schedule and try to get a jump start on their floats, spending a few early and extra hours constructing them.
They may be tweaking the rules, but it's all in the name of school fun and class pride.
Julia Randall Elementary School also has an entry in the parade, according to PHS Student Council Sponsor Anna Van Zile, who is in charge of the week's activities.
"But we haven't heard from any of the other elementaries or the middle school to know if they will (have entries)," Van Zile said.
Friday's events will be preceded by a week of activities designed to tickle the fancy of both students and alumni.
Monday, students dressed in their best island garb celebrating "Hawaii day." Also, a morning pepassembly got the celebration off to a rousing start.
Today is "Decade Day" and will culminate with an evening pep assembly from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the school's front parking lot.
Van Zile said the student council toyed with the idea of an evening bon- fire, which was the highlight of PHS homecomings in the 1980s.
But because of resident complaints received in the past, the council decided not to revive the tradition.
Wednesday is sure to bring chuckles to everyone on campus and maybe a few in the community when students dress up for "Opposite Sex" day.
There also will be several lunch-hour spirit activities Wednesday, including a possible food court in the middle of campus and class competitions including a tug-o-war.
Thursday is "Formal Day" and Friday is the "Purple and Gold" celebration. On that day, classes will be dismissed at 12:15 p.m. following a pep assembly.
To help build even more camaraderie, the wrestling club will be selling specially designed homecoming T-shirts for $10. The shirts are available now from coach Dennis Pirch or at the PHS attendance office.
Call 472-2008 for more information about homecoming.