Friend Steps Up For Former Teammate

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Waylon Pettet wants to honor his former teammate and friend Mike Barr who unexpectedly died July 25, 2010 at 25 years of age.

Pettet figures one of best ways to pay homage to the former Payson High School three-sport star is to participate in the Mike Barr Memorial Coed Softball Tournament.

Those who enter the tournament or the associated home run derby can do so knowing all profits from the frays will benefit PHS extracurricular activities.

“What we eventually want to do is become a non-profit and then be able to fund a scholarship in Mike’s memory,” said Pettet.

The tournament, set for Oct. 1 and 2, at Rumsey Park, is open to all co-ed softball teams and there is a three-game guarantee.

The entry fee for ASA-registered teams is $275 and for non-registered teams it is $300.

Players must be 16 years or older.

On the evening of Sept. 30, the day prior to the start of the tournament, a home run derby will be held. Barr was a frequent competitor in the derbies and due to his 6-foot-6-inch, 260-pound frame, could smack tape-measure home runs with a single swing of the bat.

The entry fee for the derby is $50 and Pettet is expecting most entrants to be former friends and teammates of Barr.

With tournament team registration scheduled to end today, Sept. 23, the fray has thus far attracted 12 slow-pitch teams, about six from Payson.

Although last year’s inaugural tournament was hastily put together in about three weeks, it drew 12 teams representing the communities of Snowflake, Round Valley, Phoenix and Payson.

When the dust settled, it was a local team, “Raising the Bar” that took top honors. James, Melodi and Justin Deaton as well as former PHS football and baseball star Chad Martin were team members.

In the home run derby women’s division last year, ex-Lady Horn softball star Molly Hunt slugged her way to the title.

In the men’s division, Snowflake hitters dominated with Cory Austin and Jace Earhart finishing first and second respectively.

The tournament and derby raised more than $2,000 and organizers, including Pettet, are expecting an even greater profit margin this year.

Barr is remembered locally as one of the finest athletes to ever don a Longhorn uniform having been a postseason award winner in football, basketball and track.

His untimely death sent shock waves through the Rim Country mostly because he was a picture of health, blessed with immense athletic talent.

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