For the past nine years, a highlight of the spring season for young and old alike has been the Payson Wildlife Fair. It's a festive event that draws onlookers from around Northern Gila County.
This spring, the much anticipated fair will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at Green Valley Park.
One of the most popular attractions of the day will be the free fishing program for both adults and children. Free bait and tackle will be provided on a first come, first served basis. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has recently stocked GVP with plenty of catchable-size trout. The presence of those fish should greatly enhance fishing opportunities at the lake.
Other attractions will include fly fishing clinics, wildlife displays, hands-on activities and an appearance by Smokey Bear. Visitors also have the opportunity to view live birds, fish and reptiles.
There will be refreshments, games and prizes. Admission is free.
The annual event is sponsored by the Mogollon Sporting Association, U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department and Payson Parks and Recreation.
Reid trains Olympian
Longtime local track and field coach Dan Reid is tutoring a 29-year-old German National heptathlete champion who resides in Apache Junction.
Sabrina Krieger was in Payson last week honing her track skills under the watchful eye of Reid.
According to Reid, athletes of Krieger's stature can now train in the Rim country because Payson High School has a state of the art, all-weather track surface. For fear of injuries, topnotch athletes would not train on the old dirt track.
Girls fastpitch softball is one of the most popular sports attractions in the Rim country, whether it be at Payson High School, Rim Country Middle School or on the recreation scene.
Girls ages 7 to 16 years have until May 16 to register for participation in the town-sponsored youth league. The fee is $20 which includes a T-shirt and postseason pizza party. Games begin June 2 and will continue through July.
The 6- to-10-year-old league will feature pitching by coaches. Both the 12-and-under and the 16-and-under, function with modified fastpitch rules. Call 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information.
Looking to qualify
The PHS boys and girls track team members are in Lakeside today (Friday) and tomorrow participating in the East region finals. Athletes who finish among the top-four in their respective events will earn berths into the Class 3A state championship May 16 and 17 at Queen Creek High School.
At state, the top four individual finishers from the four regions (East, West, North and South) battle for Arizona honors. A rule of thumb at state is that the team with the most qualifiers is usually a title contender. If the Longhorn boys shine in Lakeside, look for the squad to make a run at the state championship.
The last time a PHS boys track team earned the state championship was in 1990. The Lady Longhorns were state champs in 1999, 2000 and 2001.