The Gracie Haught Children Memorial Fund benefit gets off to a roaring start at 7 p.m., today, Aug. 7 at Payson Event Center with a jackpot barrel racing hosted by Charlene Hunt. Books open at 5:30 p.m.
Fees are $15 per run for Pee Wees (10 years and under) and $35 per run in the 4D division. Fees are cash only.
The barrel racing will be followed Saturday and Sunday by team roping which begins at 8:30 a.m. both days. Books open one hour earlier.
The entry fee is $70 per man.
During the weekend’s festivities there will also be plenty of old-fashioned, small-town camaraderie, delicious food, toe-tapping live music and children’s games.
Many of the added events will occur outside the arena — some in a specially constructed 40-by-100-foot tent that last year was a hotbed of activity.
The tent also should provide plenty of cooling shade, which can sometimes be hard to come by at PEC.
Among the most popular children’s attractions last year was a 30-foot climbing wall that will again be featured. Children will be allowed to scamper on the wall free of charge — and safely, thanks to the harnesses they wear.
Other activities on the agenda include a three-legged race, egg toss, shoe scramble, piñata bash and pingpong ball toss.
Remember those “cigar smoking firefighter” contests at the old logging festivals in which contestants, carrying water packs on their backs and smoking cigars, tried to extinguish each others lit cigars?
Well, they’re back.
“Yes, well have those, they are a lot of fun,” said Bobbie Jo Haught.
There will also be a dance in the tent beginning at 8 p.m. tomorrow evening, which will be preceded at 6 p.m. by a benefit dinner.
During last year’s festivities, Albert and Charlene Hunt served up about 400 deep-pit beef cowboy dinners.
This time around, dinner duties have fallen on the shoulders of Roy George Haught who is well-known locally for his fabulous outdoor cooking delights.
“It’s guaranteed to be good,” said Jan Parsons of the Children’s Memorial Fund.
Tickets to the dinner and dance are $20 per person or $50 per family. Seniors, 60 years and older, can take advantage of a two-for-one offer.
At 9 p.m. Saturday evening, a Calcutta will be held in which participants can wager on the outcome of the weekend’s team ropings.
“It’s a 50-50 Calcutta, with half the money going to the winners and the other half to the (Gracie Lee Haught Children’s Memorial) fund,” Bobbie Jo Haught said.
Sunday’s team roping will be preceded at 7:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast served up by the Payson Lions Club.
All proceeds benefit the GLH Memorial Fund.
Parsons has issued an open invitation, “We hope you will make it down to the event center to enjoy the festivities and get re-acquainted with some old friends.”