It was a tough night of Christmas light judging Monday. Many ohhs and ahhs were heard from the judges as their SUV tediously combed the snow-swept streets of Rim Country hunting out the best of the best light shows.
Lights were stapled, plastered, twisted and convoluted up houses, hills, chimneys and trees. Lights danced along to music, flickered nonsensically or just plain burnt out in exhaustion.
By the end of the night, four contenders rose above the rest of the pack with their manicured light shows, dancing Santas and general craziness.
Taking first place and the $500 prize is Hunter Hardt at 821 W. Pinto Circle in Payson. The Hardt home captured the judges’ vote with red and green lights lining the roof, a lighted wagon wheel, a train riding over the eaves, a life-size Santa waiting by the front door and a tailored yard of Christmas decorations.
Coming in a close second is Scott and Joyce Popke’s home at 215 Cedar Mill Court in Star Valley. Their Christmas-themed home earned them $300. The Popkes filled their yard with blowup decorations and a huge star on the roof.
In third place is Mike Kraus’ home at 928 W. Sherwood in Payson.
Shelly Kraus said it took her husband Mike three days to decorate the house. He set up a bear on the roof, two blowups in the entry way, three Santas, three angels on the sidewalk, put lights around rocks, put up penguin lights, a snowman and a train on the front bedroom window.
“This is the first time we entered, but we decorate every year, Shelly said. “We didn’t plan to win anything, we just wanted to decorate.”
Shelly admitted that they probably have the best-lit house on the block.
In fourth place and winning $100 is Edward Spinney at 1007 W. Chatham Drive in Payson. The Spinney home had more than 10 blowup characters in the yard and twinkling snowflake lights hanging throughout the carport.
This is the fifth year APS and the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce has teamed up to put on the holiday lighting contest.
Jan Parsons of APS said the contest was started back in a time when town spirit and morale was low.
“It serves a way to get the town together and gives something for people to go see,” Parsons said as she drove around Monday night judging the homes. “It generates some enthusiasm in town.”
Chamber Manager John Stanton said when people decorate their homes it rids the streets of the winter doom and gloom and with an average increase in electricity totaling $14 a month, it is an affordable way to celebrate the holidays with neighbors.
Parsons and Stanton said they hope residents will get in their cars and drive around to see all, or at least some, of the 29 homes that entered the contest this year.
Payson lighting contest entries
• Nicole DePugh, 608 E. Hunter Drive
• Susan and Zachary White, 1113 S. Deer
• Tim and Tami Rice, 902 E. Wade Circle
• Ray and Linda Wiebe, 608 E. Park Drive
• Becky and Scott Rhodes, 505 N.
• David and Geri Mirko, 703 E. Arrowhead
• Dan and Jamie Schulte, 702 E Skyway
• Anthony Horbatiuk, 212 W. Forest Drive
• Marlene and Paul Ritz, 309 W. Houston
• Brenda and Edward Jones, 2116 N. Cold
• Jim Osani, 504 W. Arabian Way
• Eric Smith, 611 N. Blue Spruce Road
• Mike Kraus, 928 W. Sherwood Drive
• Lynn, Donna and Shelly Bovee, 307 N.
• Edward Spinney, 1007 W. Chatham Drive
• Bob Birgam, 826 W. Overland Road
• Hunter Hardt, 821 W. Pinto Circle
• Joseph Robert Johnson, 509 W. Summit
• Sandra Hayes and Jeremy Hammer, 720
• George and Arlene Wagner, 400 S.
• David Wilamowski, 312 W. Frontier St.
• Robert Lukas, Lamplighter RV Resort
• Michael Jones, 810 S. Moonlight Drive
• Jack and Jeri Morris, 175 S. Moonlight
• Steve Vincent, 120 Sprague Drive
• Tone and Raylene Phillips, 11 Hillside
• Greg and Ardyth Potter, 390 Cedar Mill
• Scott and Joyce Popke, 215 Cedar Mill