Scholarship Winner Says 'Thanks'


Longhorn three-sport star Donnie Wilbanks has penned a heartfelt thank you for two of the scholarships he received last week at Payson High School graduation ceremonies- the $1,000 Gary Hardt Memorial and the $1,500 Jack Morris Memorial.

The Gary Hardt is doled out by The Payson Rodeo Committee and the Jack Morris by the Longhorn football team boosters.


Donnie Wilbanks was the recipient of two scholarships this year.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your generous support of the young men and women in Payson. The Payson Rodeo Committee scholarships and Jack Morris scholarships are second to none in the Rim country. They proved opportunities for young men and women to continue on with their higher education goals, so they too can become upstanding professional and outstanding members of the community like those of the Payson Rodeo and Jack Morris committees.

It is without a doubt that if it was not for the concern and kindness shown by the two committees, many of our youth would not get the opportunities to pursue dreams, goals and career aspirations. I want you to know that I am honored to have been chosen for the two scholarships and am grateful for the opportunity that your organizations have given me to pursue my education and become a professional in my field of studies. I hope that you are able to continue these programs so that others like myself are able, through your kindness, to fulfill dreams of higher education.

Wilbanks also received a football scholarship to Mesa Community College valued about $5,000 per year.

Where it comes from

The money that funds the two local scholarships Wilbanks received is earned at the annual Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeos and at the Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournaments.

The rodeo was May 20-21 at the Payson Event Center.

This year's golf tournament, the second annual, will tee off at 7:30 a.m., June 18 at Payson Golf Course with a shotgun start and a best ball format.

The tournament is played in memory of Morris, who died Feb. 23, 2004 of complications from a stroke. Morris was 34 at the time of his death.

Morris was an assistant football coach at Payson High and instrumental in helping the Longhorns earn the 1998 Class 3A state championship. He graduated from Payson High in 1987 and was a senior member of the 1986 football team that reached the state championship.

Organizers are predicting the links skirmish at Payson Golf Course will be even more successful than last year.

That would be quite an accomplishment since the inaugural event drew an overflow crowd of Jack's friends, former players and family.

The entry fee is $85 per player which includes green fees, cart, food and prize money.

The field will be limited to the first 110 golfers who register and the deadline is June 10

Prizes will include closest-to-the-pin awards on all par-3 holes, longest drive in the fairways and a hole-in-one prize on a preselected hole.

Other prizes are currently being gathered by the tournament golf committee.

In addition to accepting players for the tournament, the golf committee is searching for more event sponsors. All donations are tax deductible and a tax ID number is available.

Entry forms are available at the Payson Roundup, 708 N. Beeline Highway.

For more information, call tournament director Gary Cordell at (928) 474- 4401.

Gouker lures fishing show

Local outdoorsman Ken Gouker will host an antique fishing lure sale and show 9 a.m. to noon June 4 at Tiny's Restaurant.

There is no admission and everyone is invited to sell or buy antique lures as well as have their own appraised.

Gouker says collecting antique lures and fishing tackle --s strange as it might sound to some --s a popular hobby. More than 8,000 people are members of the National Fishing Lure Collecting Association, Gouker said.

Antique lures are those built from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Youth football sign-up

The Payson Youth Football Association will hold its next registration for players and cheerleaders from 9 am. to 1 p.m. June 4 at the Arizona Public Service offices located at 400 W. Longhorn. Registration booths will be set up in the back of the APS building. Youths 6 to 13-years-of-age are eligible to participate in the league. The fee is $60 for cheerleaders and $70 for players. A discount will be given to families with more than one player or cheerleader participating. Prospective players must bring a copy of their birth certificate to the sign-up.

Registrations will also be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 11 in the APS building. The final sign up will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 9 at Farm Bureau Insurance, 100 W. Roundup Road.

The local football association is also seeking a coach for a mighty mite team and a board member. For more information call Scott Geske at (928) 476-5354 or Angela Parker at (928) 468-6482.

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