Fair Time

Rim Country’s bounty goes on display for three-day event



The displays in the agriculture and horticulture department, along with those in the floriculture department, always take your breath away.

The dust from the 127th World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo has barely settled at the Payson Event Center and it is time to start getting ready for the 57th Annual Northern Gila County Fair.

The fair will be held at the PEC from Friday through Sunday, Sept. 9, 10 and 11, but preregistration deadlines for open livestock entries are this week. Open livestock entries must be pre-registered by Thursday, Sept. 1 and checked in from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9.

The livestock raised by 4-H and FFA members was pre-registered Thursday, Aug. 25. It must be checked in between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 8; it will be weighed from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday and judged at 5 p.m., Friday and sold at 5 p.m., Saturday.

Entry forms, found at the back of the fair books, for small animals must be received by mail by Thursday, Sept. 1. They must be checked in between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8.

All non-livestock entries for the fair must be submitted between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Judging will be held Thursday, Sept. 8 and the fair opens to the public at 9 a.m., Friday, Sept. 9, the exhibits will close at 6 p.m. The exhibition tent is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10 and from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11.


The displays in the agriculture and horticulture department, along with those in the floriculture department, always take your breath away.

In addition to the exhibits, a variety of activities will be held in the arena at the Payson Event Center.

The regular Turn and Burn Series Barrel Race and Pole Bending event, sponsored by the Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, will take place starting at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Events planned for the arena on Friday, Sept. 9 are: 10 a.m., llama judging and show; buddy showmanship, 3 p.m.; open livestock show, 4 p.m.; 4-H/FFA livestock judging and show, 5 p.m.; 4-H speed events, 6 p.m.; and 4D Barrel Race, 7:30 p.m. Admission to the arena events is $5 per car.

At the arena on Saturday, Sept. 10, the events are: 4-H and open horse show, 8 a.m.; small livestock show, 9 a.m.; and livestock auction, 5 p.m.

Admission to the arena events is $5 per car.


Some livestock on display at the Northern Gila County Fair seem to be saying they couldn’t care less about visitors.

Among the special events planned for the fair are an archery shoot by the members of the new 4-H Archery Club at 10 a.m., Friday, Sept. 9. The shoot will be among 12 members of the group, both girls and boys, ranging in age from 9 to 14. The youngsters will be vying for trophies.

Following the livestock auction, about 40 students from Dynamite Dance and Gymnastics will perform in the main arena.

Residents can also enter the popular scarecrow construction contest by the Agriculture and Horticulture Department and the Floriculture Department.

Popularity of fair photo contest results in entry reduction

Photographers are urged to get their prints ready now for amateur and professional competition at the Northern Gila County Fair.

This year, because of the overwhelming popularity of the competition, each participant may have only a total of 10 entries. In the past, Rim photographers could submit up to 25 prints into the contest.

The Photography Division of the Fair will be on display Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 9, 10 and 11 in a tent at the Payson Event Center across Hwy. 87, west of the Mazatzal Casino.

Entries must be handed in at the Event Center tent between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 7. Judging will be on Sept. 8.

There is no entry fee. All residents or property owners in Gila County are eligible to enter.

Ribbons and money ($3 first place, $2 second, $1 third) will be awarded in each of 18 categories in Black-and-White and Color. The goal is to reward all entries of equal quality, there may be many first, second or third place ribbons given out in each category. Thus, an individual photographer may win many awards in total or in any given category.

Rules for entry

All entries must be color or black-and-white prints, from 5x7 to 11x14 inches in size. Prints may be printed by the photographer in the darkroom or on a computer printer, or by a commercial photo lab.

All prints, regardless of size, must be mounted on or within mat-boards that are at least 8x10, but no larger than 11x14 inches, with the 11x14 size preferred. The mat-boards must be stiff enough to stand up without sagging. No photos in frames or with glass.

All entries must be pictures taken by the photographer.

Amateurs and professionals will be judged separately. Generally, if you earn any money from photography or have had photographs published, you’re a professional. Otherwise you’re an amateur. But if you’re an advanced amateur, and want to see how you measure up against the pros, feel free to enter in the professional division.

Fair books have details on the category topics. The fair books and entry tags are currently available at the Payson Public Library, Payson Parks and Recreation Office, Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin’s office on Hwy. 260 and at the Pine library.

If you have questions about the photography rules, contact Ed Toliver, superintendent of the fair’s photography division, at (928) 476-4596.

The weekend at the Northern Gila County Fair will be topped off in the arena at noon (gates open at 11:30 a.m.) with the Demolition Derby. Admission is $10 for adults; $15 for those 13 to 4; with those 3 and younger admitted free of charge.


Livestock brought to the Northern Gila County Fair are scrubbed and polished after months of training to show in the arena for judging — and in some cases for auction.

About the Demolition Derby

Hordes of spectators are expected to fill Payson Event Center at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11 to cheer and applaud the craziness and zaniness that only can be enjoyed at a demolition derby.

Town parks supervisor Nelson Beck, who helps host the event along with Jerry Honeycutt, is expecting 2,000-plus spectators for the fourth annual derby that will draw drivers from the Rim Country and around the state.

The derby competitions begin with a warm-up event in which drivers battle one another to see which one can be the first one to drive over, and squash, a watermelon strategically placed in the middle of the arena.

Of course, the sponsors usually dole out prize money to the lucky watermelon destroyer.

Prior to the melon-squashing events, the contestants make a grand entry to introduce their vehicles to the audience.

Those who have taken in past Payson derbies know they provide metal-crunching, bone-jarring, crashing, smashing action at its best.

Derby rules vary from event to event, but the typical derby consists of 10 or more drivers competing by deliberately ramming their vehicles into one another.

The last driver whose vehicle still runs is declared the victor.

While all entries are not yet in, Beck and Honeycutt are expecting some of the local area drivers who have done well in the past to again show up.

Among them is, Forrest Waggoner, who last year took second in the trucks division losing to Valley driver Glenn Madden in the hotly contested finals.

Also in the truck division Dion Lloyd was third.

In the cars division, Brett Carnes and Casey Bramlett entered and while neither finished in the top three the two were very competitive.

While the cars division will again be a big part of the derby, Beck expects the trucks to be a big draw among the local drivers and a crowd favorite as well.

Last year, it attracted nine trucks, the most in the history of the derby.

Among the local drivers who have enjoyed success in the division are Dan and Rob Shover of Coyote Auto.

“Dan has said he will probably enter a couple of trucks,” Beck said.

This year, the trucks division will see an increase in added money to from $750 to $1,000, or the same as the cars division.

The added money is put in a pool with entry fees and then divided among the three top drivers in each division.

The winner, receives 50 percent of the pot, the second place finisher pockets 30 percent and 20 percent is given to the third place driver.

Last year, an impromptu bumper-to-bumper truck “tug-o-war” was so much a crowd favorite that Beck and Honeycutt have decided to hold it again.

“It’s not open to the public, it’s a type of sideshow for the spectators,” said Beck.

Copies of the rules regulations and entry forms for the Payson derby are available at the parks and recreation offices located at Green Valley Park or online at: www.paysonrimcountry.com.


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