With the postseason playoffs just over the horizon, Longhorn basketball and wrestling fans should begin making plans to attend state and regional tournaments.
Anyone who's ever coached or played on a high school team involved in the postseason knows the intensity, concentration and passion of those clashes is turned up a notch from the regular season.
That makes the action doubly exciting for fans.
Also, it's almost a given that the games and matches in those tournaments will turn into hotly contested nail-biters.
That's partly because most tournaments function with a "lose one and go home" format.
For those types of showdowns, it's important for our townspeople to throw their support behind our players.
No matter what the level an athlete plays, from elementary school to the professional ranks, it's a known fact that most perform better with encouragement from friends and fans.
I've always marveled the support Northern Arizona reservation towns -- like Ganado, Chinle, Monument Valley and Window Rock -- show their young athletes.
It's not unusual for their fans to travel hundreds of miles to attend a game.
During the upcoming 3A basketball tournament in Flagstaff, their fans will fill the stands in NAU's Walkup Skydome.
And if any of the reservation area teams make it to state, hordes of supporters will travel there as well.
State games involving the reservation teams will draw crowds two and three times larger than those that show up for the Class 4A and 5A games.
Because Payson High will probably have three winter sports teams qualify for the state tournament, we have a great opportunity to show the student athletes how much we appreciate their efforts.
Showing up in Eagar-Springerville, Show Low, Flagstaff or Glendale will also be a sign, for all to see, of our town and school pride.
Future issues of the Payson Roundup will include a complete listing of regional and state tournament games.
Make plans now to attend.
Rendezvous tomorrow at Tackle Box
The annual Outdoor Rendezvous has grown in popularity, mostly because top quality seminar presenters, a sidewalk sale that features great bargains and daylong festivities, which are completely free of charge, highlight the day.
Former Tackle Box co-owner Dennis Pirch, who helped found the event, preferred to call it "an extravaganza for anyone interested in fishing, hunting and the outdoors."
Although Pirch has stepped aside as one of the sponsors of the Rendezvous, the 2008 edition will continue its rich tradition of featuring, as seminar presenters, some of the state's most acclaimed hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen in the Rim Country.
Also, it will host the highly popular sidewalk sale where outdoorsmen and women can buy, sell or trade all types of fishing, hunting, archery and camping gear.
"About anything you want to buy or sell can be found (at it)," Tackle Box manager and rendezvous host Norm Meyer said.
This year's event will be held 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 2 at The Tackle Box, located on Highway 188 in Tonto Basin.
Those interested in selling or trading outdoor equipment may do so by setting up display tables in the Tackle Box parking lot. Some have been known to hold their sidewalk sales on the tailgates of their trucks and sport utility vehicles.
In addition to visitors browsing through the sidewalk sale, displays of new and used bass boats and all-terrain vehicles will be set up.
Meyer and Tackle Box co-owner Mark Kile are in the process of scheduling a series of seven seminars to be held during the day.
Among those who have committed to participating are Art Chamberlin and Frank Powell.
Chamberlin, an acclaimed crappie and bass fishing guide at Roosevelt Lake, is no stranger to the Outdoor Rendezvous, having presented angling seminars at past events.
Powell owns Frank's Guide Service at Roosevelt Lake and is considered a teaching master in his chosen sport.
Kile, a three-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and Classic Rookie of the Year, will also be on hand to share some of his tips.
Kile is recognized as a leading authority on bass fishing in Arizona.
Meyer also anticipates attracting presenters on a variety of other topics including hunting, archery and scouting.
Among those who have participated in the past are Tige Godac (Archery Hunting for Big Game Animals), Preston Mercer (High-Tech Preseason Scouting), Ty Goodman (Whitetail Hunting) and Brian Daniels and Gary Senft (Tournament Team Fishing).
"We'll trying to get some of those (presenters) back," Meyer said.
In addition to the sidewalk sale and seminars, the rendezvous will feature awarding of door prizes throughout the day.
For more information, call The Tackle Box at (928) 479-2108.