Little League Opens This Weekend

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Payson's Little Leaguers take to the diamond this Saturday when the 2002 season opens at the Rumsey I ballfield.

Opening day celebrations begin at 10 a.m. That's when the first of four games will be played throughout the day with players representing teams from the major to the minor divisions.

Also throughout the day, there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn and snowcones for sale. Spectators also can try their luck with a water balloon launch, a moonwalk and a dunk tank. And, a radar gun also will be available to check your fastball.

All proceeds benefit Payson Little League.

The entire community is invited to help kickoff the 2002 season.

Sold out

The 10th Annual Mogollon Sporting Association banquet is sold out.

MSA member Jack Koon said early this week that the 200 $65 and $75 tickets that went on sale in early March have been purchased, which means the May 4 gala at the Mazatzal Casino should turn into a spirited evening that will be fun for all who attend.

Those who purchased tickets prior to an April 1 deadline are entered in an Early Bird drawing for a 12-gauge over/under shotgun.

Festivities begin with cocktails at 5 p.m. A prime rib or chicken dinner will be served at 6 p.m., and the auction/raffle begins at 7 p.m. Dave Yoke will serve as auctioneer.

Since the inception of the MSA, the organization has been able to earn more than $250,000. Held each spring, the event has grown to become one of the Rim country's most anticipated festivities.

Links hot-shot

Payson High School golf coach Bret Morse knew Sedona's Jake Gradzinsky was as good a young golfer as there is in the state. But even the coach couldn't believe his eyes when he stared at Gradzinsky's second-day scorecard at last weekend's White Mountain Invitational.

Playing the par 70 Snowflake course, Gradzinsky turned an 11-under-par 59.

"That (score) is not a typo," Morse said.

The next best score on that round was a 68 turned in by hometown golfer, Derrick Schneider, who plays the Snowflake course on a daily basis.

Gradzinsky finished the tournament with a two-day total of 129, that was 12 strokes better than that of Schneider, the runner-up.

All's fair at GVP

Sponsors are gearing up for the Eighth Annual Wildlife Fair May 11 at Green Valley Park.

The fair includes live animals, displays, games and fishing demonstrations. Participants can learn from employees of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service, Arizona State Parks Department and several wildlife groups, including the Mogollon Sporting Association.

Call the Payson Parks and Recreation Department at 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information.

Golf benefit for food bank

Payson's St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank will soon reap the rewards of an inaugural golf tournament.

The benefit, which will be overseen by tournament director Dick Roy, will tee of at 9 a.m. May 4 at Payson Golf Course. The format will be "four-person shotgun scramble"

The entry fee of $65 ($45 for Payson Golf Course members) includes green fees, cart and a buffet following the tournament.

The single biggest prize in the tournament is the $10,000 to be awarded to any golfer who shoots a hole-in-one on the par 3, No. 2 hole.

Women entrants are eligible to earn closest-to-the-pin awards on No. 5 and No. 14.

The golfer, man or woman, with the longest drive on No. 4 will also receive a prize.

Finally, those who turn in the three lowest scores of the day will be awarded gift certificates.

A free raffle will also be held during the post-tournament ceremony.

The tournament field will be limited to the first 72 golfers who register.

Roy is expecting most Rim country golfers to participate, but anticipates a few Valley area linksters will join in on the fun and competition.

For more information, or to receive an entry form, call Roy at 474-9559.

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