More than 100 flatlanders are escaping the desert heat today by participating in a benefit golf tournament at The Rim Club east of Payson.
For the privilege of play in the On Par benefit for Arizona Opera, players are coughing up $600 each.
Those who signed up as a foursome got a bit of a price break; the fee was only $2,000.
The golfers arrived Friday morning in a chartered coach to a continental breakfast in the clubhouse. Following the tournament, golfers and their guests will enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a five-star culinary feast served by executive chef Andreas Sellner. Following the meal, several Arizona opera singers will perform a concert.
According to Arizona Opera Association Director Kristen Bruskas, the proceeds from the tournament "will have a significant impact on Arizona Opera and will provide additional funding for productions."
The golf course at The Rim Club is a par 71 championship course that was ranked for the third year in a row by Golfweek magazine as one of America's Best Modern Courses.
Inaugural Fall Stampede tomorrow
The inaugural Fall Stampede, a gymkhana-style event for riders of all ages, will be held Saturday in the Payson Event Center.
The stampede is sponsored by the Payson Parks and Recreation Department.
For the competition, Recreation Specialist Charlene Hunt has put together eight events sure to test riders' skills and horses' training and obedience.
Among the standard events in the stampede are barrel racing and pole bending. To those, Hunt has added keyhole, hurry scurry, big T, quadrangle poles, speed ball and a rescue race.
Among the most unusual is speed ball. In it, competitors ride for 100 feet in a straight line before coming to a traffic-style cone. While still aboard their horses, riders must turn the cone and at the same time drop in a golf ball. They then return, at full speed, to the original starting line.
In keyhole, entrants gallop their horse 100 feet into a chalked keyhole figure where they must expertly turn and exit without touching any of the lines.
The hurry scurry event requires horses and riders clear three 18-inch jumps, ride around a pole and return 150 feet to the start.
Entrants will compete in one of five age groups. They are: 8-years-and-under, 9 to 12, 13 to 17, 18 to 39 and 40-years-and-over. Prizes, including trophies and ribbons, will be given in each age group. A high-point award also will be given.
The entry fee is $5 per event or $25 for all except the rescue race.
On the day of the stampede, books will open at 8 a.m. and the first event begins at 10 a.m.
Pre-registration may be competed at the parks and recreation office at Green Valley Park until 5 p.m. today.
A complete explanation of all events is also available at the P&R offices.