Payson’s third annual Arizona Mountain High Games is a celebration of the great outdoors in the Rim Country. It is also part of the state’s official ongoing festivities marking the 100th anniversary of Arizona Statehood. The event has been sanctioned by the Arizona Office of Tourism as an official Arizona Centennial Event and is being promoted statewide.
The Town of Payson, Rim Country Powersports and Digitell Verizon Wireless are sponsoring the three-day festival Friday, June 1, Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3. Based at the Payson Event Center the activities will cover lots of ground with the ATV Trail Rides, a 5K Trail Run and Mountain Bike Races.
The events in this year’s competition also include: a Dutch Oven Cooking Contest, 3D Archery Competition, ATV Rodeo, Sawdust Games, Pinecone Throwing Championships, Old-Fashioned Horseshoe Tournament and a trucks only Demolition Derby.
An estimated 500 professional and amateur athletes will compete for more than $10,000 dollars in cash and prizes — last year almost 400 participated. This year there is $7,000 in cash up for grabs.
Participants in the ATV rides, sponsored by Rim Country Powersports, will experience some of Rim Country’s most seldom seen backcountry. They will also enjoy a barbecue dinner Friday; lunch on Saturday; poker run and trail riding entertainment — like singing cowboys and old stories about miners, cowboys and outlaws.
Three rides are planned: the Snow Storm Mountain Ride is Friday evening, the Hellsgate Ride and Poker Run is Saturday; and the Royal Flush Mountain Ride is Sunday morning.
The ATV Rodeo, sponsored by the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee, will start at 7 p.m., Friday, June 1. Participants are encouraged to pre-register online or attend the onsite registration meeting from noon to 5 p.m., Friday, June 1. Participants will compete in events like the Cowhide Race, Grocery Race, Barrels and Poles, and Obstacle Course. This rodeo is open to the general public and kids, ages 8-12, can compete on a 150 cc quad (and are allowed to participate in the Barrels, Poles, and Hide Race as a rider). Those 13 to 15 can compete on a 250 cc quad. In the open class, for adults age 16 or older, participants may use a side-by-side, sport bike or utility quad. There is $1,000 in cash up for grabs in this event.
The 2012 Mountain High Games Trail Run is a plus or minus 5K run on a newly developed, partially primitive trail. It is an undulating course — all dirt, no asphalt. This format lends itself to excellent opportunity for spectators since more than two-thirds of the course can generally be viewed at any time.
Check in for the trail run is at 6 a.m., Saturday, June 2 and the race will start at 7 a.m. — preregistration is available from noon to 5 p.m., Friday, June 1.
The fee to participate is $25 and $250 cash is up for grabs in the event.
Mountain Bike Events
Mountain bike racers of all ages also have an opportunity to enjoy the Rim Country’s great outdoors at the Mountain High Games. There are two events Saturday, June 2, one for beginners and women and another for advanced riders.
The course will be plus or minus 5K over a primitive terrain track. Check-in starts at 6 a.m. and the race will start at 9 a.m. The first race will be for beginners and the female division, with women starting a minute after beginners. Beginners will have 20 minutes plus 1 lap. The second race will be for advanced riders, 30 minutes plus 1 lap. The entry fee is $25. Sponsor Coca-Cola will be awarding several fantastic prizes to the first place winner of the men’s and women’s divisions and $250 cash is up for grabs.
The 3D Archery Tournament starts at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 2. The range is open for practice from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, June 1.
Everyone is invited to participate — 4-H clubs, amateurs and professionals. Entry fees are $30 family; $20 adult; $15 youth/cub; $10 4-H participant (or included in the family fee) — peewees are free.
Dutch Oven Cooking
Saturday afternoon will feature a Dutch Oven Cooking Contest. Sponsored by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and produced by The International Dutch Oven Society of Arizona the event starts at 1 p.m. Contestants will prepare a main dish, bread and a dessert. Visitors may sample all of these mouth-watering dishes. Winner of the 3-Pot Contest will be eligible to enter in The World Championship Cook-Off for 2012 in Utah. There is a $15 registration fee and the minimum age for participants is 12. Teams can enter, but there can be no more than three people on a team.
Money will be awarded to first through third places: first place will receive $250, second place $150, and third place $100.
New this year is a fun competition called the Pinecone Throwing Championships, which will be part of the Sawdust Games, sponsored by The Home Depot, starting at 3 p.m., Saturday, June 2.
The cost is $2 to enter the Pinecone Throwing Championships. Participants will be given 15 pinecones and they must pitch them into a 5-gallon bucket from 20 to 35 feet away in a minute. The 20 contestants with the top overall score — based on the number of pitched pinecones landing in the bucket — will move onto the championship round.
In the championship round participants will get an additional 15 cones to throw.
There will be prizes for first, second and third places.
Other Sawdust Games events
• Sawdust Pit Grab in which the youthful participants will rummage through a giant pile of sawdust for awesome prizes from Home Depot and other sponsors.
• Kids Log Stacking Race is all about speed.
• Kids Nail Drive — Fastest kid to drive home three nails wins a prize.
• Women’s Rolling Pin Throw, which is a distance event.
• Cigar Smoking Fire Fighting Competition — Participants will put on a Forest Service water pack, light up a cigar and the last one with a smokin’ cigar wins! The winner takes home $50 cash.
After 3 p.m., Saturday, there is a $10 admission, which is also entry into the main event of the day, the Trucks Only Demolition Derby at 7 p.m.
Brand new this year and the main event of the three-day fun fest is a Trucks Only Demolition Derby, sponsored by Anderson Collision Center. All the noise, smoke and dirt will start flying at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 2. Gates open at 3 p.m. and there is a $10 admission. The prize pot includes $2,000 added money on top of the collective registration fees. The champion will get a trophy in addition to the cash; the most aggressive driver in each heat will get a prize from the sponsors; and the top local driver will also get a trophy.
Families and individuals are encouraged to enter any and all of the events at the Mountain High Games. It isn’t necessary to be a pro to have fun.
For more information visit www.paysonrim country.com/mountainhighgames or call the Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.