Ropers Descend For Contest In Pleasant Valley

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Sarah Haught, a Ted Meredith Memorial Roping sponsor, expects the seventh annual event — to be held July 16-17 — to be even bigger and better than past events, which are traditionally held in conjunction with Pleasant Valley Days.

Which means, it could draw more than the record 1,000 teams that competed last year.

“We could break that, we are getting a lot of interest this year,” said Haught. “We are also going to have a parade, quilt show, dance, barbecue, and on Sunday, a cowboy church in the bleachers at the arena.”

Among the prizes the team ropers will be competing for include an engraved .44 lever-action rifle, spurs, buckles and thousands of dollars in prize money.

An all-girls event in the team roping underwent a name change in 2008 and is now being called the Marsha Marcanti Memorial Roping. A percentage of the proceeds are donated to the American Cancer Society.

The Marcanti winners receive saddles, second-place finishers are awarded buckles and third-place finishers receive equine breast collars.

Marcanti, a former Globe resident who succumbed to cancer four years ago at 48 years of age, was a longtime fixture on the Gila County rodeo and roping circuit.

Meredith, who died in 2005, was a longtime Gila County rancher, home builder, former high school wrestling champion and well known for fashioning custom spurs that are the envy of cowboys and cowgirls around Arizona.

For more information about the roping or Pleasant Valley Days, call Haught at (928) 462-3800.

Football players swarm campus

Those hulking teenage boys storming around the Payson High School campus this week are an interesting sight to those wondering, “What’s going on?”

They are part of the estimated 500 aspiring high school football players from around Arizona now in Payson to train during five days of grueling practices, weight lifting sessions, passing league play and conditioning drills.

The camp began yesterday, July 18 and will continue until July 22. Participating are athletes representing Mesa Red Mountain, Casa Grande, Kingman, Miami, Tucson Canyon del Oro and Payson.

Although official numbers of attendees at previous Payson football summer camps have not been kept, the 2011 camp is the largest ever.

During camp week, players will bed down in Wilson Dome, Rim Country Middle School gymnasium and the old Payson High School gymnasium.

During the day, each school’s head coach is responsible for outlining practice sessions that are usually “three-a-days” with a different focus on each session.

During the evening, all six teams will get together for round robin 7-on-7 passing league games, either on Longhorn Field or in Rumsey Park.

Steve Perry at Pepsi-Cola is furnishing beverages; food is coming from Pizza Factory and Gerardo’s Italian Bistro, Albert Hunt, Sophie Davis, Rod Rockman, cross country/track, boys soccer and wrestling teams, with a concession stand operated by the cheerleaders.

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