Msa An Invaluable Asset To Coaches

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As a former coach of a football team that reaped the benefits of the Mogollon Sporting Association's generosity, it was a pleasure to write today's story about the association earning a state award.

I'm sure there are few, if any, small communities in the country that have an organization that contributes as much to the town's youth as does the MSA.

As coach of the 1998 Rim Country Middle School eighth-grade football team, I realized we had the talent to become White Mountain League champions. But I also knew we were the worst equipped and outfitted team in the league.

Our uniforms, if they could be called that, were blue and white hand-me-downs from RCMS's first team in 1995. Our equipment was purchased years earlier and was better suited for elementary school youth football than middle school/high school.

With big, hard-hitting players like Taylor Walden, Jake Swartwood, James Lyons and Waylon Pettet on the team, I worried about the safety of my players and that of our opponents. Our players needed high school equipment --ot youth football pads and helmets.

Knowing the school athletic budget was almost nonexistent, I approached the MSA about purchasing new uniforms and equipment. All the association asked was that I fill out a requisition form.

Later that spring, I was told my request had been granted and a check for about $3,000 would be put in the football fund.

That was the first and only time in my coaching career, which included being a varsity head coach, that I had carte blanche to purchase equipment I thought was needed for my players. With the $3,000 from MSA, I went on a shopping spree like I've never done before. When it was over, the Maverick team was equipped with the finest pads and would soon be wearing top-grade purple-and-gold uniforms.

When the uniforms arrived in the mail they were mistakenly sent to Mike Wheelis at the high school.

Mike opened the boxes, sorted through the uniforms and decided they must belong to the varsity. He said he thought there was no way such classy uniforms could be going to a middle school team.

I convinced Mike that they belonged to RCMS and he somewhat reluctantly gave them up.

As we traveled the White Mountain League that season, I could see the new uniforms were a source of great pride among the players.

That team performed as expected and finished the year undefeated. Thankfully, with our new equipment, there were no serious injuries.

Bowling tournament

Rim Country Lanes held its first annual Rim Country Regional Tournament, March 27 and 28. This tournament was limited to league bowlers at Rim Country Lanes from Payson and the surrounding communities. The tournament consisted of team, double, single and all events and was sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress and Women's International Bowling Congress.

Total prizes paid out: $1,004.

Team Event

12, four-member team entries, prizes paid out for first three places.

1. Rim Rollers 2504

Patricia Kellstein, Chick Ideker,

Benard Kellstein, Robert Schwarz

2. Awesome Four 2453

Emily Gore, Ele Inscho, Darla

Annabel, Don Coombs

3. Hits & Mrs 2447

Shawn Shero, Jim King, Bob

Hassett, Ralph Long

Doubles Event:

25 double entries, prizes paid out for the first four places

1. Emily Gore 1338

Don Coombs

2. James Cross 1283

Steve Salatti

3. Jon Curtis 1263

Troy Nelson

4. Mae Sparks 1250

Charles Sparks

Singles Event:

44 single entries, prizes paid out for the first six places

1. Bob Hassett 689

2. Patricia Kellstein 678

3. Steve Salatti 665

4. Jean Renick 655

5. Ted Keatley 654

6. Bob Baker 645

All Events:

38 all entries (nine-game series), prizes paid out for the first four places

1. Steve Salatti 2008

2. Don Coombs 1964

3. Jon Curtis 1958

4. Jean Renick 1914

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