Mogollon Sporting Association Seeks New Members

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The Mogollon Sporting Association, which held its annual banquet and festivities May 5, continues to seek new members with fresh ideas.

Ted Pettet, one of MSA's five founders, said a chief topic of discussion at recent meetings has been attracting more volunteers to help the civic organization with its many projects.

"We've had some (members) move out of town and we are looking for new ones to replace them," Pettet said. "What we do takes a lot of work and it's important for us to have good (and) dedicated volunteers."

The MSA funds many school, wildlife and conservation projects around the Rim Country.

In its 14 years of existence, the MSA has raised almost $500,000, which has been used for such projects as hosting high school sports tournaments, building wildlife guzzlers, reseeding forest burn areas, purchasing uniforms for youth teams and musical instruments for school bands and upgrading the stage and lighting system for the Payson High School drama club.

The accomplishments of the MSA have not gone unnoticed.

To honor MSA contributions, the Arizona Game and Fish Department last year bestowed the local organization with statewide recognition as the Conservation Organization of the Year. In August 2005 at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center, the MSA was inducted into the Outdoor Hall of Fame.

According to Steve Hirsch, president of the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation, which sponsors the Arizona Hall of Fame, MSA was chosen because of the contributions the organization makes in the Rim Country.

"The Mogollon Sporting Association is a perfect example of how a group of dedicated individuals can have a very positive effect on wildlife and people as well," Hirsch said. "Their program to utilize youth volunteer labor not only gets the job done, but also instills an appreciation for the great outdoors in these young people."

Four years ago, the organization received the Arizona State Schools Public Relation Association's Award of Merit for its longtime support of school programs.

Then MSA President Judy Baker traveled to Phoenix Metro Tech to accept the award.

"We are thrilled and honored to receive the award," she said at the time. "But we don't do it for the recognition, we are just trying to help out schools and the wildlife."

To learn more about the MSA or to join the organization, call Jack Koon at (928) 474-1662.

Horseplay

The Payson Parks and Recreation Department, Mogollon Montoneras and the 4-H Horse Club are teaming up to host a complete slate of summer equestrian activities and competitions.

On the Montoneras' agenda is a series of six jackpot gymkhanas that will be held May 12, June 9, July 14, Aug. 25 and Sept. 22 at the Payson Event Center.

Payson Parks and Recreation Department will again host the 7D barrel and pole-bending events that have proven popular the past several summers.

The 7D events are scheduled for Wednesday evenings. They started last week and wrap up July 25.

Some dates could be changed, because of holidays or the spring rodeo, Hunt said.

Competition begins each Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Payson Event Center. Books open at 5:30 p.m. and there is an entry fee of $5 per event.

"This series will be a 7D format, where you will compete against time and not age groups," Hunt said.

At the conclusion of the series, awards will be presented.

In the Montonera-sponsored gymkhanas, contestants will compete in a jackpot series in which there will be no year-end rewards, but payout will increase after each event.

Equestrians compete in age groups including 6 and under, 7 to 9, 10 to 13, 14 to 17, 18 to 30, 31 years and over and lead line.

The June 9, July 14 and Aug. 25 events will tip off at 5 p.m.

Each competition will feature barrel racing, pole bending and a specialty event, such as "Big O," "Waterglass," "Big T" and "Butterfly."

The Mogollon Montonera organization is a nonprofit group, run solely by volunteers. That means members and their families will be asked to assist with the production of the events, including setup, breakdown and working the entry/exit gates.

Also on the equestrian agenda will be a monthly series of 4-H Horse Club shows for the younger age groups.

For more information about 4-H, call Lani Hall at (928) 474-4160. Call Megan Ward at (928) for information about the Montonera Gymkhanas and Hunt at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for the 7D barrel and pole-bending series.

Copies of rules and guidelines for the 7D series are available at Parks and Recreation offices located at Green Valley Park.

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