Athletes, Cheerleaders Benefit Food Bank

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Four large boxes of food collected Aug. 22 as admission to a scrimmage between Payson High and Camp Verde football teams has been delivered to the Pine-Strawberry Food Bank.

"But they still need more," said PHS cheerleader sponsor Kristy Ford who helped organize the benefit.

The collection of the food was a joint venture involving the cheerleaders, football players and members of the Friends and Neighbors (FAN) Club.

The three groups decided to charge admission of one can of food after they learned the Pine Strawberry Food Bank was in desperate need of supplies.

Officials at the food bank are elated with the donation and said they are extremely thankful for the generous gesture.

Kudos to those who unselfishly gave of their time.

RCMS in action Sept. 3

The Rim Country Middle School cross country team will host about 12 teams from the Verde Valley, Prescott, Flagstaff and the White Mountains at a season-opening meet to be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Rumsey Park.

RCMS coach Jackie Wallace says she is expecting a banner effort from the girl runners because the sixth-graders were regional champions last season and "our seventh/eighth grade girls team this year is a tough group."

Spectators are welcome free of charge.

Tennis tourney

Payson tennis teacher Diane Jackson is teaming up with the Payson Parks and Recreation Athletics Coordinator Joseph Harris to host an adult tournament that will be played from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 6 on the Rumsey Park courts.

"It'll be a fun little tournament we want people to enjoy," Jackson said. "It's open to adults 18 years and older."

The fray will be contested in a round robin format among two-person teams of all playing abilities. When registering, players will be asked their skill level -- A, B or C.

Then, Jackson will head a committee that will assign playing partners.

"We will try to pair a stronger player with a weaker one," she said. "We want the tournament to be competitive and fair."

At the conclusion of the tournament a barbecue lunch will be served and prizes awarded.

The entry fee is $10 and registration is open to the first 24 to sign up.

Proceeds from the tournament will benefit local youth sports.

For more information, call Harris at (928) 474-5242, ext 7.

Training for half-marathoners

In preparation for the upcoming Rim Country Challenge, veteran runners Linda Gibson and Peggy Miles are offering free, half-marathon training sessions at 7 a.m. each Saturday. The sessions begin at the parks and recreation office at Green Valley Park.

To participate, simply show up ready to run.

For those interested in participating in the upcoming RCC event but don't want to run the entire 13.1 miles, a new division is being offered.

"They can partner up with up to three teammates to complete the route," Town of Payson Trails and Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Mary McMullen said. "This is a chance for new people become race participants and for businesses to sponsor a team."

Also new this year will be a young athletes' fun run.

All races, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 4, start and finish at Payson's scenic Green Valley Park. The half marathon and relay begin at 8 a.m., the 5K begins at 8:15 a.m. and the young athletes' fun run begins at 9 a.m.

Awards will be given to the first overall male and female finishers of the marathon and 5K. Awards will also be given to the first three male and female finishers in each age division and certificates will be given to all young athlete participants.

Registration is open through Sept. 26, with late registration available from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on race day.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Payson Area Habitat for Humanity.

PAHH board member Ross Hage touts the run as one that "benefits a terrific cause -- providing affordable housing for those in need."

He also says the half marathon "provides an opportunity for Arizonans to do something fun and healthy in the great outdoors during one of the most beautiful times of year in the Rim Country."

Demo derby on tap

The Third Annual Payson Demolition Derby, which is held in conjunction with the Northern Gila County Fair, begins 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 7 at the Payson Event Center.

Those who have taken in either of the first two derbies know they provided metal-crunching, bone-jarring, crashing, smashing action at its best.

The competitions usually begin with a warm-up event in which drivers battle one another to see who can be the first one to drive over, and squash, a watermelon strategically placed in the middle of the arena.

Of course, the sponsors, who include Honeycutt Rodeo, Chapman Auto Center and Payson and Parks and Recreation, usually dole out prize money to the lucky watermelon destroyer.

In addition to the traditional demolition derby event that features 1970s and 80s full-sized American cars outfitted to fit the rules, there will be a powder puff event for women.

Nelson Beck, who was instrumental in bringing the derbies to Payson, says a truck division race will again be held this year.

He also assures fans that the upcoming event will be better and bigger than ever, mostly because the promoters have more experience hosting them, the interest in Payson drivers is growing and fans of the sport are hooked.

"Rumors are there were will be more local cars, the Valley drivers are coming back and the stands will be full," he said. "It should be a great time."

Also on the agenda will be a specialty act featuring professional motorcycle jumpers.

Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children 4 to 11 years. Children under 4 are free.

For more information, call Beck at (928) 474-5242, ext. 268.

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