Thanks Offered For Help With Softball Event

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Payson High School softball assistant coach Kadi Tenney would like to thank all those who volunteered to help host the recent Gracie Haught Classic softball tournament.

She writes, “The Gracie Haught Classic high school softball tournament was a huge success thanks to the amazing volunteer efforts and/or financial contributions of the following people: Charlene Hunt, Dean and Judy Baker, Patty & Chloe Beeler, Molly Hunt, LeeAnne Owens, Ann Real, Toby Waugh, Trae Dunman, Chrissy Heron, Brandi Fain, Janice Short, Cherry Nottingham, Sandee Koon, Melody Deaton, Bobette Sylvester, Tiffany Klemstine, Tiffany Taylor, Debby Taylor, Bill and Teri Broce, Lisa Dunman, Tom & Sue Loomis, Vicki Dietz, Bob King, ABLE Steel, Kim Timmins, Payson Parks & Recreation, Sparkletts Water (Kari Waters), Safeway, Reed Hunt, Tom Brown, APS, Tom Belcher, Ryan Schneider, Cole Herrera, Brandon Echols, Mogollon Sporting Association, Chuck and Robbin Clark, King’s Diesel Diagnostics, Joe Bates, and Pizza Factory.”

Riding for poker

It’s time to tune up the quad, practice your riding skills and gear up for one of the most popular and festive poker rides in Arizona.

It’s the Fourth Annual Lorraine Cline Memorial to be held April 28 in the high deserts of Gila County. The ride begins at the O-Bar-C Ranch in Tonto Basin and continues along old Jeep and mining trails and roads.

The route has undergone some changes since last year, but remains about 40-plus miles and is expected to take most of the day because there will be several stops along the way to receive playing cards to make up each entrant’s poker hand. A stop will also be made where riders can enjoy a picnic lunch they pack and bring along.

In addition to the poker ride, there will be a benefit dinner and dance beginning at 6 p.m., April 27, the day prior to the ride, at the Butcher Hook in Tonto Basin.

During the dinner dance, the winning raffle ticket will be drawn that has as a prize a 2012 Polaris Ranger 800 XP side-by-side valued at about $14,000. The Polaris is being raffled courtesy of Four Seasons Motor Sports near Rye.

Raffle tickets are being sold for $100 and only 200 will be sold.

Registration for the poker run is at 9 a.m. and the ride begins one hour later. Poker cards are available at $20 per hand and prizes will be paid for first, second and third best hands.

For those unfamiliar with poker rides, they are an organized event where participants, usually using motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, boats or horses, must visit five to seven checkpoints, drawing a playing card at each one. The object is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run.

While the ride is a celebratory and festive outing, its real purpose is to benefit the fight against cancer.

Laci Sopeland, the granddaughter of Lorraine Cline, who died four years ago of lung caner, organized the benefit rides in 2008 to raise money to help pay expenses for local people waging war against the dreaded disease.

Sopeland says a portion of the money will help fund a type of free wellness clinic where Gila County residents can receive health care and checkups.

She says the clinic is a big-time goal of hers because her grandmother’s cancer was not diagnosed until very late in the disease’s progression and had she known about it earlier, chances for survival would have been much better.

For more information, call (928) 978-1254 or e-mail obarcranch @yahoo.com.

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