Payson Posse Team To Beat In Stampede

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Cyclists will be raising the dust in the Rim Country later this month when the Payson Stampede 24-Hour Mountain Bike Challenge returns June 17 and 18.

Approximately 150 competitors from around the state and beyond will begin arriving in Payson Thursday, June 16. Many will be setting up camp at the Payson Event Center and all will have the opportunity to pre-ride the 10-mile course.

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Payson Posse member Ken Shepherd at the 2005 Payson Stampede.

The team everyone will be trying to beat is the Payson Posse, the defending champions of the event, said Dan Basinski who is one of the founders of the race. The Posse members are Wayne Gorry, Nick "The Quick" Payne, Ken Shepherd and Eric Kush.

New this year is a 12-hour race division and a six-hour solo division.

The 12-hour is for both solo cyclists and teams who don't want to do the 24-hour run.

Both shorter runs will begin with the rest of the racers at noon Saturday, June 17, and follow the same course. The 12-hour run will finish at midnight. The six-hour competitors will end at 6 p.m.

Winners will be determined by the number of laps completed during the race.

Classifications for the 24-hour and 12-hour divisions include: Solo riders, two-person teams, seven classes of four-person teams, four classes of five-person teams and a corporate team class.

The 10-mile race course starts at the Payson Event Center rodeo grounds, followed by a steep and challenging descent on a single track of approximately a mile, known as the "Rocky B****," riders will have several miles of Forest Service road to traverse before climbing to the "Top of the World," then descend onto about a mile of pavement leading back to the rodeo grounds.

"From the ‘Top of the World' you can see just about all of the Mogollon Rim," Basinski said.

Riders will have a feeding and watering station at the Ox Bow Inn again this year. "We will have a portion cordoned off and they can park their bikes, go inside, order off the menu, get back in the race and have their order ready when they come by on the next lap," Basinski said.

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Payson Posse member Nick "The Quick" Payne.

The race organizers will be assisted with medical care by the Payson Fire Department and have arranged to have a brush truck on hand for fire safety.

No fire closures are yet in place to disrupt the race, and if they should arise, mitigation measures have already been arranged so the event will continue.

Should there be a fire in the vicinity, it will be a judgment call on whether to continue or not, Basinski said.

The event starts at noon Saturday, June 17, and is LeMans-style, meaning racers will gather at the starting line on foot, then race to their bikes and hit the course. It concludes at noon Sunday, June 18. Awards will be presented at 2 p.m. at the Ox Bow Inn's courtyard.

There is still time for contestants to register. Fees range from $100 for six-hour solo riders to $725 for corporate teams. Information and registration materials can be found at www.tucsonracing.com.

On-site registration will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 16 at Mazatzal Casino in Payson, and from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17 at the Payson Event Center rodeo grounds.

Payson Stampede paired with street fair

The Payson Stampede will also feature a street fair, courtesy of the Payson Main Street Office and Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The fair will be held on West Main, from the fire station to McLane.

The fair begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17 and close at 4 p.m.

There will be arts, crafts, antiques, family fun, food and entertainment for racers, their family and friends and Rim Country residents as well.

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