Youngsters To Showcase Football Skills


The Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Department will host the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 31 at Rumsey Park north multipurpose field. The event is free.

The competition allows boys and girls, ages 6 to 15 years, to showcase their football skills in punting, passing and placekicking. Scores are based on distance and accuracy. Entrants may register onsite the day of the competition or online at

Finalists in both boys and girls divisions will advance to regional competitions, and regional winners may advance to the state championship to be held during an Arizona Cardinals football game.

Last year the Payson champions included Hunter Krahn, David Anderson, Calli Carpenter, Todd McCarty, Alix Parker and Shay England.

Among the most impressive performances of last year’s winners was that turned in by McCarty. He punted 88 feet, 7 inches; passed 115 feet, 5 inches; and kicked 94 feet, 6 inches.

McCarty is age-eligible to participate again this year if he wishes.

The 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 current Lady Longhorn soccer coach 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.

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 seniors on the current PHS varsity football roster, Westin Gibson and Payson Herring, also once participated in PP&K.

The NFL Pepsi gridiron program is a national skills competition for boys and girls between the ages of 8-15, who compete separately against their peers.

Established in 1961, the PP&K program is the oldest NFL Youth Football program. Girls and boys in four separate age divisions compete.

The PP&K program is free — both to organizers, like the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, and to every youngster who wants to participate.

With more than 4 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.

The Parks, Recreation Tourism Department has several other upcoming sports programs for youth including Start Smart Basketball, Biddy Basketball and 7th- and 8th-grade basketball, 5th- and 6th-grade and 3rd- and 4th-grade basketball leagues.

Call Trevor LaHaye at (928) 474-5242, ext. 260 for more information, or visit recreation offices at Green Valley Park.

Learn a lifetime sport at PGC

The Payson Golf Course is planning a “Drive, Wine and Dine” event for Rim Country women.

Drive, Wine and Dine is an event for women who want to learn to play golf or those who are beginning golfers. In addition to learning golf basics and a chance to practice, there will be drinks, food and time to socialize.

The program will be presented at 5 p.m., Sept. 1; Sept. 15; Sept. 22; and Sept. 29 at the Payson Golf Course, 1605 W. Country Club Drive, Payson.

The cost is $10 per night.

To register, contact Jan at (928) 978-7606 or e-mail jan@payson

Motorcycle rally

Scheduled for Oct. 8 to Oct. 10 at Green Valley Park, the Thunder Mountain Ride on roadways around the Rim Country will be highlighted by live entertainment, fireworks shows, “Ride in the Pines” day runs, local and national vendors, stunt shows, food and beverage concessions, wild and fun contests and an array of prizes that include 11 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, two Yamaha motorcycles and $5,000 in cash prizes.

There will also be two special raffles, to be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 10 at GVP for a 2010 Yamaha TR50 and a 2010 Polaris 500 ATV.

Basic entry fee into the ride is $60, which includes drawing tickets for five of the motorcycles to be given away.

The all-inclusive entry fee is $120 and includes tickets for all 13 motorcycles and a souvenir T-shirt.

The rally will be the first of its type to be held in the Rim Country where horseback and quad riding on backcountry trails has long been a popular recreational attraction.

The rally is being co-sponsored by the town tourism department along with Fargo’s Steakhouse, Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Majestic Mountain Inn, Arizona Public Service, Crabdree Insurance, Mogollon Health Alliance and others.

All proceeds from the ride benefit the Gracie Lee Haught Children’s Memorial Fund, American Legion and Mogollon Health Alliance.

For more information, call (928) 472-2588.


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