Friends of Mike Barr and others who knew him only by reputation came together Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 to pay tribute to the former Longhorn sports standout by participating in the Mike Barr Memorial Softball Tournament and Home Run Derby.
The tournament drew 10 co-ed teams and for the home run derby, nine women’s teams competed and seven entered the men’s division.
While event organizer Waylon Pettet is calling the tournament a complete success, it did end Saturday night on an especially auspicious note.
“About 10 p.m. the lights went off and we couldn’t get them back on,” Pettet said.
Which meant the championship game between Winslow and Door Mill of Round Valley could not be finished.
So, the two teams were declared tournament co-champions.
The Mullet Mashers, an all-Payson team, had the misfortune of being in the same bracket with the two co-championship teams and had to settle for a fifth-place finish after being eliminated by a loss to Winslow.
In the home run derby, however, a pair of Rim Country teams swept top honors.
In the men’s division, the team of Adam Munson, Donnie Wilbanks and Pettet finished as top guns.
Among the women, Melodi Deaton, Malia Richards and Marci Rush were first.
All proceeds from the tournament and derby will benefit the Mike Barr Fund, which will be used to assist financially strapped Payson High School student athletes.
The tournament and derby were co-sponsored by Payson’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, but Pettet says future plans are to have it sponsored solely by the Barr Foundation, which organizers hope to make a non-profit in the near future.
“We also might hold it at a different (time of the year),” Pettet said.
The tournament is played in remembrance of Barr who was 25 years of age when he died of heart failure July 15, 2010 in California.
His athletic exploits at Rim Country Middle School, Payson High and in local recreation leagues is the stuff of which legends are made.
During his high school career (2000-2004) at Payson High School he probably won more awards than any Longhorn athlete who preceded or followed him.
He also set school records, attracted the attention of big city media, drew glowing plaudits from coaches and wowed the fans with his slam dunks in basketball, amazing one-handed catches in football and region-winning heaves in the shot put and discus.
With the second annual tournament at an end, organizers are thanking sponsors Safeway, Subway, Roosevelt Marina, Pepsi-Cola and the numerous volunteers who chipped in to help out.