Pirch Winning Ways Continue

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Christopher Pirch, a high school math teacher and wrestling coach in Fredericksburg, Va., pocketed $15,000 in prize money for picking his older brother, Clifford, to win last week’s Walmart FLW Tour bass tournament on Tennessee’s Chickamauga Lake.

The prize was awarded in the FLW Fantasy Fishing contest held in conjunction with the Walmart FLW tour.

Christopher told Fantasy Fishing officials that although he won the contest, he wasn’t much of an angler and that sometimes the sport bored him.

“I played more Gameboy (video games) than I fished,” he once said.

Christopher, however, has been following the professional circuit ever since his brother turned pro several years ago.

“I started playing Fantasy Fishing because of Clifford,” Christopher told officials. “It gives me a way to share in his passion without actually having to be in the boat.”

Christopher also said he has remained confident that his brother was capable of winning.

Clifford won his first Walmart Tour event last week with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 77 pounds, 3 ounces.

Fantasy Fishing is free to play, but entrants have the option of purchasing Player’s Advantage, which offers tips, resources, and information that can benefit the player.

Christopher said he used Player’s Advantage to help him with picks other than his brother.

He also said he follows the tour closely, has some pros that are staples on his fantasy team and scans each tournament fishery to see who has done well there in the past.

Christopher’s Fantasy Fishing team, was led by his brother and earned him 2,143 points that will continue to accumulate throughout the season positioning him to contend for a grand prize of $100,000.

Christopher, like his brother, is a Payson High School graduate. During his years at PHS he starred in wrestling, cross country and track and field.

Christopher received a bachelor’s of arts degree from Cornell University in 2002 and a master’s of arts in math education from James Madison in 2004.

The two siblings’ parents are Dennis and Kathy Pirch of Payson.

No New York

The New York vs. Payson High School track and field meet originally scheduled for April 20 was canceled.

Chuck Yale, a PHS volunteer coach, who formerly coached in New York State, set up the highly unusual meet, but said it didn’t become a reality because of scheduling conflicts.

The two Payson teams were slated to travel the following day, April 21, to the Safford Invitational and holding back-to-back meets is not the best of training concepts.

Also, Yale said, the New York team — which was actually from Grand Island — is continuing its tour of northern Arizona and didn’t have the time to be in Payson on the scheduled date.

“They fly home on Thursday (April 21),” Yale said at midweek.

Tonto Basin Poker Ride

The Third Annual Lorraine Cline Memorial Poker Ride at the O bar C Ranch in Tonto Basin will travel through some of Gila County’s most scenic wildlands.

The poker ride begins about 10 a.m. April 30 at the Tonto Basin-area ranch located at 1390 Ewing Trail.

Registration is at 9 a.m.

The jaunt is about 40 miles and is expected to take most of the day because there will be several stops along the way to receive playing cards that will make up each entrant’s poker hand. A stop will also be made where riders can enjoy a picnic lunch they pack and bring along.

A pair of the most interesting stops will be at the historic DuPont Cabin and the Copper Mountain mining site.

Tonto Basin businessman John Dryer, who was a good friend to Lorraine Cline and helps out each year with the ride, says the DuPont Cabin, “is a spot you could never find unless you knew exactly where it was.”

He also describes the remote Copper Mountain “as an old mining claim that’s a lot of fun to look around.”

Last year about 80 entrants competed in the poker ride, but both organizer Laci Sopeland and Dryer are expecting more than 100 to enter the upcoming benefit.

The fee is $20 per poker hand and players may purchase multiple hands. Prize money will be paid to the top three hands.

Players must be 18 years or older to purchase poker hands.

For those unfamiliar with poker rides: they are an organized event where participants, usually using motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, boats or horses, must visit five to seven checkpoints, drawing a playing card at each one.

The object is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run. Winning is purely a matter of chance.

For more information or for directions to the ranch, call (928) 978-1254 or (918) 978-0540.

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