Arizona State Ducks Unlimited Chairman Art Craker is throwing his support behind the Payson chapter's annual banquet scheduled for March. 5.
"We are looking forward to a great crowd again at this year's event," he said. "Everyone is welcome at the banquet, which will feature both live and silent auctions, raffles of wildlife and sporting art as well as goods and service donated by area businesses"
DU regional director Adam Cresswell, who is spearheading the Payson banquet this year, said he expects the event to be a sell out.
The banquet, to be held at Payson Elks Lodge No. 2154, begins at 5 p.m. with a no host cocktail hour. The dinner is served at 6 p.m. and the auction and raffles kick off at 7 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased at Pollack Custom Works, 615 W. Main St., or by calling (928) 472-7200.
Early Bird tickets, those purchased before Feb. 20, are $35 per person, or $60 a couple. After Feb. 20, the prices increase to $45 and $70. For youngsters, under 12 -- or Greenwings -- tickets are $20 and $25.
The current popularity of the banquet has not always been a given in the Rim country. Former longtime Payson chapter chairman Harold Iverson remembered that in the late 1980s "we had a hard time selling out."
But under the leadership of Iverson -- who was the state's 1998 DU chairman of the year -- the event has become an annual sell-out. After Iverson stepped down as chairman, Bruce Wilson served a stint at head of the Payson chapter.
The list of prizes that are given away, raffled or auctioned each year is mind boggling. It traditionally includes rifles, pistols, shotguns, archery equipment, decoys, prints, jewelry and camping gear.
Also, the list usually includes several off-beat prizes. A couple of years ago some of the more unique raffle items included an NBA autographed basketball, a set of automobile tires, a Denver Broncos football helmet, an autographed hockey stick and a Laughlin, Nev. getaway.
Most of the items are donated from local DU sponsors or the national chapter.
In 1998, the Payson chapter was honored by the state organization for having the most banquet sponsors.
The DU benefit, along with the Mogollon Sporting Association and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation banquets, are some of the most festive events in the Rim country.
GC games approach
The clock is winding down on the time amateur athletes have to practice and prepare for the 2005 Grand Canyon State Winter Games.
For those entering wrestling, it is slated to be held Feb. 19 at Apache Junction High School.
Winter games competition will continue most every weekend until April 22-24 when adult team baseball is played.
Most all events, including more than 30 sports, will be held at various venues in the valley area.
Skiing, snowboarding and all Alpine events will be held Feb. 26-27 at Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff.
Early registration may be completed by picking up an entry book at the Payson Circle K stores, the APS office or at Bashas'.
For the wrestling competition match-day registrations will also be accepted 7 to 8:30 a.m in the gymnasium.
The No. 1 finisher in each division of all sports will receive free entry into the Tucson summer Grand Canyon State Games June 3 to 5.
The top finishers in each division of the Tucson competition will be awarded free entry into the Arizona State summer games when they are held June 23 to 26.
Calling all Little Leaguers
In an effort to get a jump-start on planning the upcoming season, Little League board members scheduled five player pre-registration dates that they hope parents will take advantage of.
Sign ups were held Jan. 12 and Jan. 15.
Upcoming registrations will be held:
- Jan. 19, 4 to 7 p.m.
- Jan. 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Jan. 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The registration fee is $60 per player. Families with more than one player participating will receive a discount of $5.
Also, additional volunteers including snack bar attendants, coaches and managers are needed.
According to Little League officials, if not enough volunteers are found to run the snack bar it could close and create a financial hardship for the program.
For more information call Little League President Chuck Barton at (928) 468-1711.