Monster Trucks Return To Rim Country

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Want to find out how rugged your 4x4 or quad-runner is?

That opportunity presents itself at 6 p.m. Saturday when the Monster Motorsport Spectacular visits the Payson Rodeo Arena.

Organizers say locals can enter their own trucks in the mud bog portion of the show. To participate, locals can sign-up at the pit gate but must have a helmet and seat belt.

Also open to the public will be "Quad Wars" featuring ATV races in which winners are awarded prize money.

Other events expected to highlight the evening are a jet car meltdown thrill show and monster truck races that feature vehicles catapulting 15 feet into the air.

Advance tickets to the show are $10, which includes a $5 pit pass. Tickets are available at NAPA Auto Parts in Payson. Gates open at 4 p.m. Call (520) 474-5242 for more information.

Has come a long way

The bus ride home from Saturday's state cross country championships must have been quite a thrill for PHS coach Chuck Hardt.

The longtime coach, who founded the team eight years ago, was finally able to watch and enjoy as his team basked in a good measure of success.

When Hardt started the team in 1992, only three athletes showed up for tryouts, which left the future of the sport in doubt.

But Hardt, also a physical education teacher, scoured his classes to find teenagers willing to participate in the grueling sport.

After a few weeks, he finally had the numbers necessary to keep the program alive.

In its first two years of existence, the team was not recognized by the school board and Hardt was forced to operate as a volunteer coach without a budget. Times were tough and Hardt had to be wondering if he'd ever get the program off the ground.

Through the trials and tribulations of building interest in cross country, Hardt was able to stay the course and build the Lady Longhorns into a state contender. Saturday, they finished as the Class 3A state runner-up. If you see Hardt around town, give him a pat on the back it was a commendable coaching job.

Remember him?

Rim country wrestling fans will remember Eric Larkin as the Tucson youngster who wrestled in the Arizona Coaches Association All-Star tournament three years ago in Wilson Dome. Larkin, then a nationally acclaimed prep athlete, narrowly outpointed Payson All-Star Jeff LaMotte in the tournament.

Now a student at Arizona State, Larkin went 3-0 Friday to win his pool at the World University Freestyle championships in Tokyo. Larkin whipped representatives from Hungary, Iran and Canada.

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