Payson High School athletic director Dave Bradley recently received a letter from Snowflake High School Resource Officer Brad Brawley congratulating the Longhorn boys basketball team and its coaches for their exemplary behavior during a Jan. 23 game at Snowflake.
In the spirited basketball clash, the potential for ugliness developed when some of the exuberant Lobo faithful unleashed taunts, especially when PHS players where shooting free throws.
Coach Chuck Hardt said of the incident, "Our players handled it well; we just kept playing and smiling."
The letter the SRO penned to Bradley read:
"Dear Mr. Bradley:
Last night, I watched the blowout of the Payson Longhorns over the Snowflake Lobos during the boys varsity basketball game. As a result, I felt compelled to write this letter.
The sportsmanship of your boys was flawless. I watched them take it in stride as our student body showed their exuberance. (I hope our students didn't come across as being rude. If they did, I apologize.) I also noted that the referees overlooked a lot of "hacking" of which your players were the victims. This, too, they handled with class.
Please pass on to the team and to all of their coaches that their character is a tribute to your town, to the school, to their parents and to themselves.
Best of luck to you and your teams as the season continues.
School Safety Officer
Snowflake Taylor Public Schools"
Thousands are expected to show up tomorrow, Saturday, at The Tackle Box in Tonto Basin to participate in the Third Annual Outdoor Rendezvous.
Among the attractions during the day-long festivities will be a sidewalk sale in which outdoor enthusiasts can buy, sell, trade or barter for the many camping, hunting, fishing, hiking and other items that will be on display.
Tackle Box co-owner Dennis Pirch has invited the public to participate in the sidewalk sale free of charge.
"There will be plenty of great bargains," he said. "And, for those who have some equipment they no longer use, the sale will be a great way to get rid of it."
The day's festivities also include 11 informative seminars hosted by some of the Rim Country's finest hunters and anglers. The seminars, which begin at 8:30 a.m., are also free.
For the Emeril Lagasse wannabes in the crowd, there will also be a chili cook-off with prizes going to first through third places. For more information, call The Tackle Box at (928) 479-2108.
Ex-Devil in Super Bowl
In all the Super Bowl hoopla that is lighting up the sports world, one little known fact about Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is that he has ties to our state and the Rim Country.
He once was an assistant at Arizona State University where he helped coach a Sun Devil player who later went on to become a Rim Country Middle School eighth grade football coach. While at ASU, Smith also worked four preseason training sessions at Camp Tontozona east of Payson.
Smith was an assistant for former Sun Devil head coach Larry Marmie from 1998 to 1991.
Among the players on the Sun Devil teams during those seasons was All-PAC-10 tight end Scott Veach. In 1994, Veach helped coached Rim Country Middle School's first-ever football team.
Smith left ASU after Marmie's contract was not renewed and Bruce Snyder was hired as his replacement.
Among the highlights during Smith's tenure at ASU was the Sun Devils' 37-14 win over arch-rival University of Arizona in 1991. The win ended ASU's nine-year losing streak against the Wildcats.