Hillary Hardt, a 14-year-old freshman at Payson High School, received the thrill of a lifetime last week when she was chosen to participate in the "Kids Run the Show Night" at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. More than 600 youngsters entered the promotion and just 40 were chosen to participate.
"I guess that makes her pretty lucky, doesn't it?" Hillary's mother said.
As part of a promotion with Bank One, several lucky youths were selected at random to shadow various Diamondback employees during a game against the San Francisco Giants. Hillary's duties included helping operate the pitching speed gun which calculates the velocity of the hurler's offerings and displays it to the crowd.
On that night, Hillary was checking the speed of Diamondback pitcher Brian Anderson.
Other youngsters chosen to participate in Kids Run the Show worked with employees at all levels of the Diamondbacks organization including ticketing, sales, marketing, operations, broadcasting, community affairs, security and camera crew.
Bank One officials bill the event as "a great outlet for children to express their enthusiasm for the Diamondbacks while learning important lessons on responsibility and team spirit."
Hillary was not the first local youngster to participate in the event. Last year, her friend Whitney Heizer also a Payson High School freshman was chosen and worked with the grounds crew.
In White Mountain football circles, tonight's game pitting Payson against Holbrook will take a backseat to a pair of other clashes involving long-time rivals.
One of the most anticipated will occur in Show Low where the defending state champion Cougars play host to surprising Round Valley.
The other game pits top-ranked Blue Ridge against a Snowflake team that was looking darn good until it was upset last Friday by Show Low.
The SL vs. RV game features two teams ranked in the 3A conference's top-five. The Elks sport a 4-1 record and hold down the second spot. Show Low enters the game with 3-2 credentials and ranked fifth. Snowflake enters the game against the Yellow Jackets a definite underdog but when those two teams get together, anything can happen. Make no mistake about it, the fur will be flyin' in Lakeside and Show Low.
The Payson Elks Lodge will be hosting its annual youth soccer shoot out Saturday on the North Rumsey Park multi-purpose field. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Competition kicks off at 9 a.m. and continues until about noon.
Winners in the Payson competition earn the right to advance to the district kick-off which will be held later this fall in Prescott.
Youngsters interested in participating should show up tomorrow at Rumsey prior to 8 a.m. There is no registration fee.