The Small Town Charm Of A Rim Country Icon

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Robert Randall has breathed the crisp, clean mountain air almost his entire life. He knows just about everything about the small town where he lives. He built a business that he plans to pass down to the next generation of Randalls. He loves this place and he has no desire to leave it.

He is a self-proclaimed "Lifer" of Pine and the Rim Country.

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At 62, Robert Randall plans to stay at the helm of Payson Concrete and Materials for at least 10 more years.

A reserved man, Randall doesn't seek the spotlight, nor is he prone to self-promotion. He embodies the solitude of small-town way of life and answers with a nod and a smile, more often than with words.

The 62-year-old is a third generation Pine resident. He remembers growing up among the ponderosas, his grandparents and parents and most of all, being happy about his life.

"All my memories are good," he said. "I've enjoyed life here."

Randall did leave Pine for a short time many years ago to attend Long Beach City College in California. He admitted that he didn't enjoy his time away and wanted to come home to the familiarity of the Rim Country.

When he returned, he and a brother bought into their older brother's excavating and concrete business -- Payson Concrete and Materials -- where he still works today.

Randall, who has been part owner of Payson Concrete for 40 years, said that he made the right move when he signed on with his brothers George and Fred.

"I enjoy my work," he said. "It drives me."

Randall's determination and devotion to his hometown were illustrated in another way a few years ago when he began a different sort of job.

Randall, along with fellow landowner Ray Pugel, decided to take stock in the future of Pine and began searching for water.

"(Pugel) asked if I would help -- and if I wanted to spend a whole lot of money looking for water," he said with a laugh.

So the unlikely trio -- an excavator, a real estate agent and a hydrologist whom Pugel knew -- spent the next two years drilling the well on an open area of land Randall and Pugel owned near the old Ponderosa Market in Pine.

"We just drilled and were lucky enough to find water," he said

He added, shyly, that he doesn't really want to participate in the future of the well and is simply happy to have been part of the discovery team.

"The main thing is we got water," he said.

When Randall has free time he enjoys fishing or hunting for deer and elk -- something he's done often, based on the amount of knowledge he displayed about his treasured pastime.

Randall said he has no plans to retire and anticipates that in 10 years he'll still be doing the work that he enjoys so much. Besides, as he was quick to point out, he's one of the bosses.

"I get to do what I want to do now. I guess that makes me kind of retired," he joked.

The secret to life, he said, is to stay busy and keep on trucking.

The Rim Country icon admitted that his favorite thing about Pine is its small size and the fact that he knows it so well.

It's not surprising then, that time won't change him. He'll spend his remaining years in the same place where he spent his first 62.

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