Firecracker Tourney Makes A Rebound

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A decade ago, the Firecracker Independence Day Softball Tournament was one of the most popular holiday sports events in small-town Arizona.

Teams from the Valley and around the state flocked to Payson to escape the searing desert heat and enjoy their favorite sport. For a variety of reasons, over the years, the diamond fray lost a bit of its luster.

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If Charlene Hunt has her way, holiday softball tournaments will again draw softball teams from around the state to the Rim country.

Its popularity may be on the comeback.

Local softball player and coach Charlene Hunt, also a town recreation specialist, plans to return the tournament to its glory days of yesteryear. She'll begin with this summer's tournament July 2-4 on the Rumsey Park and high school fields.

Each team that enters will be guaranteed a minimum of three games for an entry fee of $250. Each of the three divisions -- men's women's and coed -- will be limited to the first 12 teams that register. Registration may be completed at Payson Parks and Recreation office at Green Valley Park.

Call Hunt at (928) 474-5242, ext. 260 for more information.

Gouker lures antique 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. Visitors are invited to sell or buy antique lures and have their own appraised.

Gouker said 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 made between 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 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 4 at the Arizona Public Service offices at 400 W. Longhorn Road. Registration booths will be set up in the back of the APS building. Youths 6 to 13 years old 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 also will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 11 in the APS building. The final sign up will be 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.

Morris Memorial

The Jack Morris Memorial Scholarship golf tournament will tee off at 7:30 a.m. June 19 at Payson Golf Course.

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.

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

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

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