Ready To Roll: Payson Finishes Fiesta Bowl Float

Elk-topped float, Longhorn band will bask in spotlight in Dec. 29 parade

Volunteer labor helped create Payson’s Fiesta Bowl float.

Photo by Andy Towle. |

Volunteer labor helped create Payson’s Fiesta Bowl float.


The Town of Payson has officially finished the float that will cruise down the streets of Central Phoenix during the 42nd Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade on Saturday, Dec. 29.

Along with town volunteers dressed as trees, the Payson High School marching band will complete the Payson contingent.

Although part of the Fiesta Bowl activities, the parade actually takes place before the Buffalo Wings Bowl in Sun Devil Stadium. The official Tostitos Fiesta Bowl takes place on Jan. 3.

“This was truly a community effort,” said Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Cameron Davis. He credited APS with making it possible by getting the $15,000 entry fee waived.

In addition to APS, numerous other trades and businesses contributed supplies and time to build the float that represents the best of what Rim Country has to offer — nature and outdoor recreation.

The main section of the float features a Mogollon Rim mock-up covered in trees, elk and deer, all trundling along behind a flatbed truck.

A second trailer pulls a poster of the Rim along with a sign that reads, “Payson, in the heart of Arizona.”

Surrounding the sign and poster are hiking boots, a tent with a sleeping bag and fire pit, fishing pole, and a mountain bike. Local residents will sit amid the recreational gear.

Surrounding the float, the Town has 30 volunteers that will dress up in homemade pine tree costumes constructed by master local seamstress, Susan Garrett. The idea is to show the outside world that the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world surrounds Payson.

These volunteers will walk the 2-mile course waving to the crowds.

“The trees are a one-size fits all kind of costume,” said Davis.

Davis said volunteers will have to assemble and disassemble the float several times to get it down to Tempe and then store it until the day of the parade.

Butch Klein with Quality Movers allowed for the use of his company truck to move all of the float’s components to the staging area.

Dave Daily and his construction company framed the infrastructure of the float and Gary Johnson put his 30 years of welding experience to work.

Jim Lewus with Lewuson Enterprise, LLC provided the 1,600-square-foot space at the Payson Airpark to construct the float.

Until the parade date, the float has a safe place to sit under a roof protected from any winter storms.

Sue Malinski at Western Village provided a 7-foot elk along with other forest animals to help dress up the float.

Thomas Walling from the Payson High School Drama Department was the art guru on the project. He shaped and molded and painted a large depiction of the majestic Mogollon Rim.

The Home Center provided discounted building materials and the Payson Roundup supplied pictures and paper.

Wes Chapman provided the trailer and the Payson Water Department supplied the truck for the float.

Davis said many groups volunteered time to build the float, including youth groups from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the high school varsity basketball team.

Payson Police Department volunteers stuffed over 38,000 napkins around the float.

“We could not have done this without some help from key individuals and Eddie Bachtell has volunteered over 200 hours of his time constructing the float and helping to make this an event to remember,” said Davis.


Saturday, Dec. 29, 11 a.m.

Start at Central Avenue and Montebello Ave. Goes down Camelback and 7th Street before ending on Minnezona Ave.

Admission: Free

Bleacher seating: $25

Reserved seating: $10

Chalet: $75

Broadcast: KNXV-ABC 15

Live Web cast:

Buffalo Wings Bowl

Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (Big 12) vs. Michigan State University Spartans (Big 10) in Sun Devil Stadium starting at 8:15 p.m.

Fiesta Bowl

The 42nd Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will play on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The No. 4 University of Oregon Ducks will play the No. 5 Kansas State Wildcats.


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