Coach Says Tourney One Of The Finest In Arizona


Those who took in the Payson Invitational wrestling tournament on Jan. 20 and 21 in Wilson Dome undoubtedly left impressed with the fine performances of the wrestlers, the overall organization of the tournament and the hospitality shown by the town and school.

But that’s nothing new — tournament director Don Heizer has been hosting those types of quality tournaments since his arrival in Payson in the mid 1990s. Before that, he was putting on the same quality high school events in Colorado.

Heizer is modest and always quick to deflect any credit he receives to his host of dedicated volunteers who serve as the backbone of the Payson Invitational.

Heizer’s leadership and expertise combined with the unselfish dedication of the volunteers produced a tournament that wowed the visitors, who probably returned home singing the praises of our town and its people.

Anyone who has helped host a tournament as large as the PI know it’s a mammoth undertaking, but this one went off without a hitch.

Payson High second year coach Casey Woodall is also lauding the tournament as one of the finest in the state.

He says, “I cannot say enough about the people who made this tournament possible. The Lee family and the many parents who put on the hospitality room did an incredible job.

“I had 20-plus coaches compliment us on how good the food was. Don Heizer was at his best once again and putting on a great tournament for coaches, competitors and spectators.

“Finally, the many volunteers who worked behind the scenes running tables, producing bout sheets, announcing, and doing everything else were huge contributors.

“We are very fortunate to have a community to support wrestling the way Payson does, and that is what keeps teams coming back to the Payson Invitational.

“It is the effort of these volunteers that make our tournament such a success.”

Elementary school hoops

Town of Payson Recreation Leader Mary Wolf is reminding parents of young athletes that registration for the third and fourth grade basketball leagues ends on Jan. 25 and those who don’t sign up by then, risk not being included in the program. The cost is $30 and games will be played on Saturdays beginning Feb. 4. Also, Wolf says, volunteer coaches are needed.

More on the town agenda

Adult Sports

Adult Basketball League registration also ends Jan. 25. Games will be played on weeknights starting in February. The league is limited to eight teams. Cost is $300 per team.

Watchable Wildlife

Increase the chances of having a positive wildlife viewing experience. Learn the five steps to successful wildlife viewing. Registration continues through March 16 and the class will be held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, March 24 at the Parks & Rec office building in Green Valley Park.

All ages are welcome. The cost is $5 per person.

Payson Event Center

Barrel & Pole Practice — Parks, Recreation and Tourism will be sponsoring this equestrian event beginning April 18. It will be Wednesday nights starting in April at the Payson Event Center.

Books open at 4 p.m.; time-only runs are from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The fee is $3 per run or $5 for a three-minute time slot.

Friday Night Barrel and Pole 4D Jackpot is slated for April 27, May 11, June 22, July 20, Aug. 24, Sept. 14 and Oct. 12 at the Payson Event Center.

Books open at 5:30 p.m. and competition starts at 7:30 p.m. Time-only events are from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The cost is $3 per run, one-minute time limit; plus a $25 registration fee and $5 arena fee. All fees must be paid in cash and there will be a 60 percent cash payout.

Equestrian Classes/Clinics

Are you a beginner, a new horse owner, or do you need to brush up equestrian skills and the well-being and health of your horse?

The Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, in partnership with Lani Hall, Jessy Wedell, Charlie Hall and Dr. Drew Justice, DVM, are offering a series of equine classes. Enjoy developing your skills and knowledge on a variety of topics surrounding the equestrian lifestyle. Sign up for one class or sign up for the series. Space is limited.

Register online or at the Parks & Rec. office in Green Valley Park. The class will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ag building, Payson High School. The fee is $8 per person per class or $40 for all eight classes.

Class List

• Jan. 31 — Goat Tying Session 1 (you must sign up for both sessions of the goat tying clinic.)

• Feb. 1 — Goat Tying Session 2

• Feb. 8 — Emergency First Aid for your horse

Feb. 15 — Dummy roping

Feb. 22 — Horse grooming

Feb. 29 — Showmanship Halter

March 7 — 4-H Showmanship

March 14 — Ease your horse back into shape — Get ready for spring and summer equestrian events (this class will be held at the Parks & Rec. office)

Lil’ Longhorn Wrestling Camp

This camp offers young wrestlers the opportunity to learn skills from the Payson High School coaches and wrestlers. Registration is already under way and continues through Feb. 2.

The program will be from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from Feb. 21 through March 1 for those in the third through eighth grades at the wrestling room in Payson High School’s Wilson Dome. The cost is $25 per child.

To learn more, contact the Parks office at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.


The next free, guided hike offered through the Payson Area Trails System and the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is at 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 on the Monument Peak Loop Trail.

This beautiful route features occasional views of the Rim, an easy route and a year-round spring. It is three miles in length.

Meet at the Monument Peak Trailhead, four miles east of East Hwy. 260 on Granite Dells Road (the 260 light by Safeway).

Remember to dress for the weather, wear hiking boots and bring water.

Kick Off Valentine’s Day with a Heart-Healthy Zumbathon

Rim Country Health is sponsoring a Zumbathon to benefit the Payson Christian Clinic from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Payson Senior Center, 514 W. Main St. The event will actually start with a mini Zumba lesson at 9:45 a.m. followed by two hours of heart-pumping Latin fitness fun. The first hour will be Zumba Gold, which is a little slower paced; and the second hour will be regular Zumba where the movements are faster and bigger.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Prizes will be awarded to participants who collect the most pledges for their dancing efforts. However, you do not have to dance to participate in the fund-raising efforts and be eligible for prizes and raffle drawings. For more information, or to print out a pledge form, go to or call Christy Walton at (928) 595-0406.

Wear your favorite Valentine colors and join this heart-healthy fitness party to raise funds for the local Christian Clinic.


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