The NFL/Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick program has a storied history in Payson that includes attracting some of the town's finest young athletes into its ranks.
Among the most successful of the competitors was Amy Wilcox who won four Payson PP&K championships. In
2000, she captured the sectional crown and advanced to Sun Devil stadium, then the home of the Arizona Cardinals, where she came within an eyelash of winning a berth in the national PP&K championships.
Wilcox went on to be a three-sport star at Payson High School. After graduation, she starred in soccer at Paradise Valley Community College and Eastern New Mexico University.
Others who have participated and gone on to excel at Payson High School include Waylon Pettet, Nate Lee, Porter Wilbanks, Retosha Marshall and Scott Andrus.
A pair of sophomores on the current PHS varsity football roster, Westin Gibson and Payson Herring, also once participated in PP&K.
Nationally, the event has drawn several athletes who have gone on to careers in the NFL including Brett Favre, Drew Bledsoe and Troy Aikman.
The Rim Country's current group for 8- to 15-year-olds will have an opportunity join the elite PP&K ranks when the event is held at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 15 at Rumsey Park.
Registration may be completed at the parks and recreation office at Green Valley Valley Park or at Rumsey prior to the event. There is no registration fee. Entrants participate for the right to advance to sectional competition.
Those who win sectional honors are eligible to enter the state championship and winners there advance to a national showdown.
During the competition, each participant punts, passes and place kicks.
Scores are based on both distance and accuracy. For example, if the punter's ball goes 100 feet, but is off the marker line by 40 feet, his score would be 60.
Established in 1961, the PP&K program is the oldest NFL Youth Football program.
Girls and boys in four separate age divisions compete against each other in the three events.
The PP&K program is free -- both to organizers, like the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, who host local competitions and to every youngster who wants to participate.
With more than four million boys and girls from around the country taking part in PP&K competitions, it is one of the world's largest youth sports participation programs.