Sporting Group Helps School Program


My sincere apologies to Payson High School senior Ben Sandoval for an error in my story about the state wrestling tournament held Feb. 13 and 14 in Prescott.

I wrote, “ Sandoval won his first two matches easily before losing 16-0 on a technical fall to (Jon) Casas who went on” to win the state championship.

Sandoval did lose to Casas, but it was by a narrow 12-7 decision, not a technical fall.

Again, my apologies to Ben.

MSA continues to give

Since the inception of the Mogollon Sporting Association 17 years ago, it has been one of the most philanthropic organization in the Rim Country, doling out thousands of dollars each year to needy groups.

This year is no exception.

Recently, the school board accepted donations from MSA that totaled $8,451.25.

Among the organizations the money will benefit include PHS basketball, soccer, volleyball, spirit line and Frontier Elementary School kindergarten.

The MSA also donated about $6,500-plus to purchase a high jump pit for the PHS track team, a portable backstop for the baseball team, money for a SmartBoard at FES and $1,000 to pay for PHS wrestling officials.

In a thank you letter to MSA, PUSD Superintendent Casey O’Brien signed and penciled in “Wow!”

For those newcomers who might be unfamiliar with the MSA, its mission statement is “to enhance wildlife, environment, education and our economy in the Mogollon Rim Country by supporting local, quality game management and our local businesses.”

Which means, money earned must be used to support Payson schools, local youth programs and outdoor conservation projects.

The money must also be spent in a way that it benefits the local economy and Payson businessmen and women.

The funds the sporting association has available to donate is mostly raised at annual banquets. The gala festivities have been for the past 17 years a much-anticipated highlight of the spring social and sports season.

Hundreds of MSA supporters enthusiastically flock to the banquets, which include a copious dinner, silent auctions, live auctions, raffles, early bird drawings and plenty of the small-town camaraderie Payson is renowned for.

Those who attend, which includes some of the town’s most notable residents, do so knowing the celebratory evening is for a great cause.

The MSA’s deeds have drawn the organization accolades from around Arizona.

In 2006, the Arizona Game and Fish Department bestowed the MSA with statewide recognition as the Conservation Organization of the Year.

In August 2005, at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center, the MSA was inducted into the Outdoor Hall of Fame.

According to Steve Hirsch, president of the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation that sponsors the Arizona Hall of Fame, MSA was chosen because of the contributions the organization makes in the Rim Country.

“The Mogollon Sporting Association is a perfect example of how a group of dedicated individuals can have a very positive effect on wildlife and people as well,” Hirsch said.

“Their program to utilize youth volunteer labor not only gets the job done, but also instills an appreciation for the great outdoors in these young people.”


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