It was obvious to those who attended the Fourth Annual Optimist Kids Fishing Festival on March 27 at Green Valley Park that the Mogollon Sporting Association was, as usual, at the forefront of the event.
First off, the MSA jumped in with a healthy monetary donation to purchase extra stocking trout to ensure that every participant, young or old, would enjoy the excitement of catching a fish.
The trout purchased by MSA and another brood from Arizona Game and Fish were stocked in GVP just two days before the festival.
Also, two of the MSA’s founding members — Ted Pettet and Gary Barcom — were on hand to share their knowledge and expertise with the many children who participated.
Past MSA President Will Dietz also showed up to lend a hand.
Mary McMullen, Town of Payson Outdoor Sports and Recreation coordinator, and Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Management Officer John Dickson were among those to praise the MSA for its generosity and willingness to lend a hand to worthy causes.
“It is such a wonderful organization,” McMullen said.
The next project for MSA members is to co-host the 15th annual Payson Wildlife Fair when it is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 8 at Green Valley Park.
Thanks to the efforts of the MSA and the other sponsoring organizations, the fair has become a premier outdoor event.
During the past school year, the MSA also helped sponsor several athletic tournaments.
The money to help fund the events above and others is earned at the association’s annual banquet, raffle and auction.
This year, the festivities will be held May 1 at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino.
It all tips off at 4 p.m. with a no-host cocktail hour and continues late into the evening with the prime rib dinner, auctions and raffles.
Tickets are now $80 per person.
Tickets are available from any MSA member or by calling Jack Koon at (928) 474-1662.
Since the inception of the MSA, the organization has earned more than $1 million, all of which has gone to local causes.
Most importantly, all MSA members are volunteers, the organization is nonprofit and all proceeds are used to enhance quality of life in the Rim Country.
Those who attend do so knowing the event benefits local youth programs, schools, outdoor and wildlife enhancement projects and the economy.