This week is a Rim Country football fan's dream. A scenic 80-minute drive north will take the gridiron faithful to the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff where the Arizona Cardinals are undergoing two-a-day practices open to spectators free of charge. The Cards travel Aug. 12 to Glendale for a preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. For those not lucky enough to have a ticket to the game, it will be shown live on television. Kickoff is 1:05 p.m.
As if that wasn't enough football for the week, Arizona State University arrives Aug. 10 at Camp Tontozona, located 17 miles east of Payson. Like Cardinals practices, the sessions are open to fans free of charge. The Aug. 12 practice is a scrimmage and should draw thousands of Valley-area fans.
The Camp Tontozona schedule:
Aug. 10: 3:40 to 6 p.m.
Aug. 11: 8:35 to 11:05 a.m. and 3:50 to 6 p.m.
Aug. 12: 8:35 to 11:05 a.m.
Aug. 13: 8:35 to 11:05 a.m. and 3:50 to 6 p.m.
Aug. 14: 3 to 6 p.m.
Aug. 15: 8:35 to 11:05 a.m. and 3:50 to 6 p.m.
Aug. 16: 3 to 6 p.m.
Aug. 17: 8:35 to 11:05 a.m.
Wow, the Sun Devils at Tontozona, the Cardinals in Flagstaff and live on television -- life couldn't get much better.
Calling all officials
For those interested in becoming high school sports officials, the first step is to attend an Arizona Interscholastic Association clinic on Aug. 12 in Holbrook. Payson High School athletic director Dave Bradley will provide school van transportation scheduled to depart near the PHS football field at 8 a.m. that day. The van is expected to return to Payson about 3 p.m. At the clinic, candidates will complete an AIA packet of registration material, receive a rules handbook, discuss rule changes and have the opportunity to ask questions. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, have knowledge of the rules of the sports they officiate and a love of athletics and kids, Bradley said. Officials must also possess good physical ability, self-confidence, personal integrity and the determination to work hard. While the requirements to becoming an official are demanding, Bradley says there are plenty of rewards in the profession, including staying involved in sports, exercise, chance to work with kids and extra pocket money.
First year officials can expect to officiate freshman and jayvee games locally, for which they'll be compensated $25 to $35 per game. Veteran officials may be called upon to travel the state. They will receive up to $50 per game and will be paid a mileage fee for travel. Prospective officials must pay a registration fee of $45 for the first sport officiated and $25 for each additional. They will also spend some money on uniforms and equipment. For more information, call Bradley at (928) 474-2233.
An inaugural Demolition Derby, sponsored by the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, Mazatzal Casino and Honeycutt Rodeo, will be held 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Payson Event Center.
Payson Parks and Recreation Department Park Supervisor Nelson Beck predicts the derby "will be one of the best spectator events of the season and a ton of fun will be had by all."
Beck is hoping local entries fill the field and the event won't have to be opened to Valley area drivers.
"We'd like to make it locals-only if we can," he said.
To make the event even more enticing, sponsors have added $1,000 in prize money. The entry fee is $40 if paid before Aug. 25. After that date, it is $60.
Entry forms and complete derby rules can be picked up at the Payson Parks and Recreation office located at Green Valley Park.
For more information, call Beck at (928) 474-5242, ext. 306.