Dinner Raises $10,000 For Historic Preservation

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The Northern Gila County Historical Society's Statehood Dinner brought in more than $10,000 for preservation projects.

The dinner was Feb. 10 at the Mazatzal Casino and featured State Historian Marshall Trimble and the band The Booher Brothers.

Trimble talked about "Arizona's First Superstar --Charlie Meadows."

Meadows and his family were early settlers in the Rim Country, and he is credited with starting the rodeo in Payson with John Collins Chilson.

The dinner was also the launch of the 125th Anniversary Celebration for the Town of Payson. The winning design for the celebration logo was revealed as part of the evening's festivities.

The winning artist is Barbara Zirinsky. The triangular design includes images of the forest, an elk and a bull rider.

Zirinsky said she read about the contest in the paper a little more than a week before the designs were due and immediately went to work on her entry. To come up with the design, she asked herself, "What do I think about when I think about Payson?" She said, the first images that came to mind were the rodeo, the forests of the Rim Country and the elk.

"It's very exciting," she said of winning the contest. "I worked really hard on it, and it was so fun." Zirinsky said she used to do art quite a number of years ago, so to get back into it with the logo design and winning the contest was special. Her prize will be one of the anniversary commemorative belt buckles, she said.

The next part of the celebration is a special exhibit at the Northern Gila County Historical Museum that features the rodeo, including its queens, which is currently on display.

The popular Beer, Brats and Cheese fund-raiser at the museum is planned for March, followed by a performance by Apache dancers and Apache food at a special program in April.

Old brands from around the Rim Country and Tonto Basin area will be featured in an exhibit at the museum in May.

The Zane Grey's West Society will have its 25th annual convention in Payson in June.

The World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo returns in August, along with the Rodeo Reunion.

September's Northern Gila County Fair will include a raffle of a quilt that features area brands.

The big celebration of the 125th Anniversary Celebration is slated for Oct. 5 and 6.

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