Wildlife Fair Will Take Place May 8 At Gvp

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The spring recreation scene peaks 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 8 at Green Valley Park where the 15th Annual Payson Wildlife Fair will offer a myriad of free activities including fishing and outdoor games.

Also participating will be the usual array of conservation groups offering up-close and personal looks at all types of wildlife including birds of prey, snakes, Gila monsters and alligators.

Food booths will offer a variety of lip-smacking delights including hamburgers and hot dogs cooked up by members of the Mogollon Sporting Association.

The fair is a cooperative effort of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Mogollon Sporting Association, U.S. Forest Service and the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.

For the event, fishing opportunities will be greatly enhanced by a stocking of trout that will be twice the amount usually placed in the lake.

Each year since the fair’s founding 15 years ago inside Rim Country Middle School gymnasium, it has grown in leaps and bounds. It now attracts hundreds of visitors from around Gila County and the Valley area.

It is especially popular among the younger set who enjoy the free fishing, angling lessons, children’s games and the fascinating glimpses of wildlife.

Final Four were tough picks

The Final Four of the 2010 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament is set and if there are any readers who successfully predicted the four teams, our hats at the Payson Roundup are off to you.

Most of us were way off base in predicting mostly because some of the blue blood programs and No. 1 seeds were eliminated in the tournament’s middle rounds.

Almost no one we know predicated at the onset of the tournament that Butler (32-4) and Michigan State (28-8), both No. 5 seeds, would make it to the semifinals.

Duke, the only No. 1 seed to make it to the final four, obviously was a popular pick because the Blue Devils drew the top berth.

Some fans, however, left Duke out, knowing the school hadn’t reached the Final Four since 2004 and the team was widely considered good, but not a national title favorite.

The Blue Devils were my personal pick as eventual NCAA champs mostly because I’m a huge fan of Mike Krzyzewski. As a former prep coach, I like what he stresses with his teams — defense and rebounding.

Over the years, the Blue Devils have won countless games by giving themselves ample opportunities at second chance points with rebounds.

Also, Coach K is to be admired in that he has long advocated sports are a way to teach young men character, leadership and integrity. Over his career, he has led the movement to recognize accomplishments in sport, education and character development.

West Virginia (31-6) entered the tournament with a No. 2 seed, but wasn’t a huge favorite partly because the Mountaineers hadn’t been to the finals since 1959.

Michigan State and Butler will meet in Indianapolis on Saturday.

In the second game, Duke faces West Virginia.

A champion will be decided Monday night.

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