Amy Wilcox is one of the many local young athletes who has her sights set on traveling to Australia this summer for a look at culture and sports in the land Down Under.
A decade ago, the transcontinental jaunts were a rarity for high school athletes.
Today, multitudes of youngsters from around the United States are given the opportunity participate in the tours as long as they can earn the funds to pay for the travel.
Because Amy is gearing up for fund raisers to enable her to visit Australia, a portion of today's Sports Talk will today be turned over to her.
"My name is Amy Wilcox and I am a junior at Payson High School. Perhaps you have seen my picture in the Payson Roundup as a member of the varsity soccer team. I have been the top goal scorer for the past two seasons for the Lady Longhorns and am looking forward to my senior year.
"We will be competing in the 4A conference next season and the competition will be tougher than ever. I am also looking forward to leading the Lady Longhorns to a conference title in the 4A North region next year.
"I feel very fortunate to have been selected to compete with a soccer team from Arizona and representing the USA this summer. This is a very unique opportunity which will not only be educational but will allow me to compete against top student athletes from other countries.
"The trip is expensive, but I am committed to earning and raising the funds necessary for me to attend. I am asking friends and businesses in the Payson area for any donations they feel they can make to help me in my efforts. I have already raised some of the money doing odd jobs including washing cars and cleaning houses. I also have a steak dinner planned for the end of May.
"If I can do any service or speak to you or any service group about this opportunity and how important it is to me, I will gladly do it.
"I have lived in Payson since I was 3 years old and I know how this town supports its youth. Again, thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I understand there are many requests for your financial assistance in the community and I want you to know how greatly appreciated your donation will be. If you feel you could be of any assistance, please contact me at 474-1684.
If you would like to mail a donation of any size, the address is Amy Wilcox, 502 S. Rimview Circle, Payson, AZ 85541."
Hey, potatoes, off the couch
The annual Payson Area Habitat for Humanity 5K Walk/Run usually turns into a rewarding outdoor experience that can eliminate the doldrums of life in front of the TV.
Not only is the morning full of fun and good old-fashioned exercise, it's a way for Rim country residents to give something back to the community.
All of the money earned at the annual race and breakfast helps the PAHH accomplish its mission of providing decent, affordable and healthy houses to Payson-area low and moderate-income residents.
This year's festivities begin at 6:30 a.m. at Green Valley Park with a pre-registration period for the 3.1-mile walk/race. The starting gun for the event will be fired at 8 a.m. Runners and walkers will then be sent scurrying along the course that begins and ends in Green Valley Park. Although the course has some elevation changes, there are no rugged hills to climb.
Last year, the benefit drew 228 entrants.
David Helwig, the overall male winner in 2002, is scheduled to return this year to defend his crown.
Immediately after the race, the Payson Knights of Columbus will serve a pancake breakfast to all of the race participants. Non-participants can purchase breakfast tickets for $3 (adults) and $1 (children).
Almost as quickly as the last runner/walker crosses the finish line, race organizers will host an awards ceremony near the GVP Veterans' Memorial.
Other on-going activities during the morning will be face painting, a Payson Humane Society booth where animals may be adopted and live music by Trouble in Paradise featuring Chuck and Barbara Case. Also, there will be games for the younger set and booths hosted by Payson Athletic Club owner Keven Rush and Massage or Knot.
The fee for the race is $15 if paid before May 9. On race day, the fee is $18. The fees include a souvenir T-shirt and the breakfast.
Registrations forms are available at the Payson Roundup, Payson Athletic Club, Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and the PAHH office.