Friends and family of professional angler Clifford Pirch gathered Sunday morning in his parents’ north Payson home to watch nationwide televised coverage of Clifford’s first-place finish in the Walmart FLW National Guard Western Division Tournament.
The win, chalked up Oct. 21-24 at Clear Lake, Calif., was worth $105,820 in prize money.
For the program, commentator Jason Harper and television cameras followed Clifford’s every move, especially on the final days of the tournament when he reeled in catches most fishermen will only ever dream about.
After boating one huge bass, he is heard saying, “Someone needs to pinch me.” The comment drew plenty of laughs from those watching.
Fellow professional Roy Hawk, who was taking in the program with Clifford’s family and friends, quipped, “That bass almost pulled you in.”
Back in Payson, Clifford called the tournament, “Unbelievable. I just kept reeling the bass in.”
Among the highlights of the TV program was the final weigh-in which showed the former Payson High School three-sport star setting a Western Division single-day heaviest bag record of a whopping 37 pounds, 8 ounces.
In all, his four-day stringer of 20 bass tipped the scales at 97 pounds, 8 ounces.
Clifford said he also inadvertently hooked plenty of catfish, which he released into the lake.
Following the program, family and friends enjoyed lunch and the leisurely opportunity to question both Clifford and Hawk about life on the professional fishing circuit.
VERSUS officials estimate about 500 million households worldwide were tuned into the program.
On the professional bass fishing circuit, Team National Guard sponsors Clifford.
Payson Little League Girls Softball Fast Pitch officials are making an all-out effort to improve the quality of pitching, fielding and hitting in our town’s young athletes.
Among the opportunities fledglings will soon have to learn new skills and hone existing ones are a series of clinics to be hosted by former Lady Longhorn coach Curtis Johnson.
On hand to assist the coach will be his daughter, Candice, an all-region and all-state hurler for the Lady Longhorns from 2004 to 2008.
Upcoming pitching clinics are set for Dec. 12, 19, 23, 30 and Jan. 9 on the Kiwanis fields at Rumsey Park. The session for beginners will be 10 to 11 a.m., and skills sessions for advanced players are 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The fee is $5 per session.
The clinics are open to players of Little League, ages 8 to 14 years.
Little League official Felicia Moore calls the clinics “an opportunity for girls to learn (fastpitch).”
Also for aspiring players, fielding clinics are scheduled for Dec. 23, and a hitting clinic on Dec. 30.
For both the fielding and hitting clinics, sessions for those 10 years old and under will be from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The 11-year-olds and up will meet from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Moore predicts the skills learned will help the girls during tryouts, which will be conducted Feb. 20. At the clinics, players will also have the opportunity to sign up for 2010 Little League play.
The registration fee for minor, major and junior league play is $75 until a Feb. 1 deadline. After the deadline, the fee is $80.
The fee for the coach pitch league is $50.
Families with more than two children participating will not have to pay for more than two players.
“This year, as a board, we decided (that),” Moore said.