Multi-Talented Walker Is Young Man Of The Year

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As the Payson Roundup's Young Man of the Year, Patrick Walker shoulders a myriad of responsibilities that render him one of the most unique teens to ever attend Payson High School.

He's a popular master of ceremonies, the KMOG Sports Director, youth and high school sports official, honor student and Payson High School student body president.

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Patrick Walker has been a voice for Longhorn athletics for four years, providing color commentary on KMOG. He is also known to the participants in sports from his years as a referee, work he started as part of his job with the Payson Parks and Recreation Department.

As challenging as those roles can be for an 18-year-old, Walker takes them on with a maturity far beyond his years.

"He meets his obligations, whether it is broadcasting, officiating or (student body) president like a responsible adult," Payson High School assistant principal Tim Fruth said. "He is a fine young man."

PHS principal Roy Sandoval said it is Walker's self-assured, upbeat demeanor that captures the admiration of others.

Walker is not quite sure how he acquired the outgoing confidence and aura to work side-by-side with more experienced adults, but thinks his poise in front of audiences might have its origins during his eighth-grade year at Rim Country Middle School.

"I started in the (Wilson) dome announcing volleyball, wrestling and basketball and found out I actually liked broadcasting," he said. "When I became a freshman, I went to KMOG and asked them if I could hang around and kind of learn the ropes."

After learning the position of Sports Director at the station was vacant, Walker applied for and received the job.

"I knew I'd really have to step up to do it," he said.

Since his appointment, Walker has done play-by-play and color broadcasts of just about every Payson High School football and basketball game that has been played.

His duties have taken him to games in Page, Chinle, southern Arizona and into the White Mountain communities.

"It's been a lot of fun and I've met a lot of people," he said. "I now have a lot of contacts."

When Walker is not on radio, he can usually be found working somewhere as a master of ceremonies or as a PA announcer.

He annually lends a professional touch to the Sludge to the Judge homecoming run with his well, thought-out announcing from the sidewalks of Main Street.

In addition to working for KMOG and as a PA announcer, Walker has done sports broadcast on Safford and Show Low radio stations.

After working the past four years in broadcasting, Walker has set the profession as his career goal.

"I'd like to get a job on a national network doing the TV side of it," he said. "I think television would be a blast."

Walker plans to lay the foundation for his career beginning next year when he enrolls in general studies classes at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff.

After completing those, he will transfer to Northern Arizona University to major in broadcast journalism.

For Walker, succeeding academically on the collegiate level shouldn't be a problem.

He'll graduate this spring ranked in the top 10 percent of the Class of 2006 and possibly the recipient of several scholarship offers.

In addition to serving as STUGO president this year, Walker was vice president as a junior and as a sophomore was treasurer.

During his senior year, he also volunteered as an American History teacher's aide to Dennis Pirch.

As an umpire and referee

Walker's character and aplomb might be partly due to his involvement in sports officiating.

Watching him officiate, it's obvious he has learned to deal with and shrug off the criticism that inevitably goes along with the job.

Although he is not yet Arizona Interscholastic Association certified, because he is still in high school, Walker has traveled the state officiating prep football and basketball games.

He also umpires on the Little League circuit and has worked with some college referees officiating off-season play.

Walker attributes his interest in officiating to former Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Sports Director Teddy Pettet.

"He's the one that got me into it and then helped me along the way," Walker said.

During Walker's four years in high school, he's been able to build a strong and well-rounded foundation in broadcasting, announcing, student government, sports officiating and academics.

He's now ready for even more challenges.

"It's time to move on, see what I can do after high school," he said.

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