Christmas For Kids Golf Event Is This Month

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Almost every benefit golf tournament played during the spring and summer months contribute to worthy causes.

But the Payson Public Safety Christmas for Kids Golf Tournament cause tugs at the heartstrings because proceeds are used to buy Christmas gifts for needy children — those who might not have presents under the tree if it were not for the generosity and hard work of law enforcement and other public safety officers.

In December 2010, Public Safety Christmas for Kids (PSCFK) offered 266 children from 115 families the opportunity to each grab more than $50 worth of gifts from Walmart.

For the shopping trip, public safety officers helped the children pick out their gifts accompanying the children through the store.

Payson Police Sgt. Jason Hazelo shopped with Lidia Romero and her four children.

One child, Diego Jose, 5, picked out a bicycle and his sister Jhanet Salasar, 9, chose an art kit and the board game Sorry.

If families needed the money to buy clothing and could not afford toys, they were sent to the Santa Shop at Bashas’ where volunteers gave away donated toys.

This year, the tournament tees off at 8 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 27 with a shotgun start. A law enforcement officer auction and steak dinner begins at 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26 at Payson Golf Course. The event will include a no-host bar and door prizes. Also at the auction, Mulligans will be up for sale.

At the auction held the evening before the tournament, three-person teams can bid to have a public safety officer become the fourth member of their squad.

That bidding often turns spirited as some well-heeled players jockey to have their favorite law enforcement officer join them for golf, hijinks and a few good-natured laughs.

Former Payson Police officer Charlene Hunt remembers in past years, when the economy was flourishing, the bidding sometimes peaked at $3,000.

This year’s auction and tournament goal is to “raise the amount of donations to allow us to open up our program to more in the community,” said PSCFK board member Andrea Hamm.

Entry fee into the tournament is $375, which includes green fees, golf cart, dinner and prizes, but not the purchase of a public safety team member.

The minimum bid for an officer to join a team is $75 and must be paid the night of the auction.

Public safety agencies involved in Christmas for Kids include the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, Gila County Attorney’s Office, the Northern Gila County Firefighters Association, Department of Public Safety and Payson Police.

For more information, call Mark Hillegas at (928) 595-1617 or Michelle Keegan at (928) 474-2208, ext. 2833.

Entry forms are available at the Payson Roundup, 708 N. Beeline Highway.

Town offerings:

Fall Soccer

This popular fall league gives kids the opportunity to further their soccer skills.

Registration: through Aug. 19

Games: Saturdays, Aug. 27 to Oct. 1

Ages: 4 to sixth-graders

Place: Rumsey North Soccer Field

Fee: $30

Fly-fishing 101 & 102

Registration: through Aug. 20

Class: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20 at parks office and Green Valley Lake

Fee: $10

Ages: 13 years or older (however, if accompanied by an adult, children ages 8 through 12 may also participate). Rods are provided; but participants are welcome to bring their own.

Kids Fishing with Mark Kile

Registration: through Sept. 7

Class: from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14 at parks office and Green Valley Lake

Class: for students in first through fifth grades. All fishing equipment and bait will be provided. Children should bring their own water to drink.

Fee: $5

GPS 101 Class

Registration: through Sept. 16

Class: from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Parks, Recreation and Tourism office and Green Valley Park

Ages: 12 and older

Requirements: Participants must bring hand-held GPS, computer connector cable and manual.

Fee: $15

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