Fans traveling Friday to Prescott Valley to cheer for the Lady Longhorns in the state opening-round volleyball game against Blue Ridge will find the game site, Tim’s Toyota Center, to be among the nicest venues in the state, especially Northern Arizona where the only other such venue is the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff.
TTC is a $36 million multipurpose facility that seats about 5,100 spectators for most sports and 6,200 for concerts.
TTC can host boxing, rodeo, ice shows, theatrical productions and all indoor prep sports.
It has also hosted Arizona Outlaws American Indoor Football games, some monster truck shows and on Nov. 30, 2011, a collegiate basketball game between Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona was played there.
The center is home to the Arizona Sundogs, a member of the Central Hockey League.
Inside TTC are 22 private luxury suites and two party suites but, most importantly, every seat in the center affords spectators up-close and personal looks at the action.
That’s especially important in high school sports because fans, parents, teachers and friends want to be as close as possible to the games.
When a group of friends and I first traveled to the TTC about four years ago for a high school state playoff game, we mistakenly thought the facility was something akin to a car dealership.
But in fact it is owned by the City of Prescott Valley and Tim’s Toyota, a Prescott dealership, pays to be the corporate sponsor and namesake of the arena.
If the Lady Horns win their first-round state game Friday and play the following day, on Saturday, fans might want to hang around Prescott rather than drive home to Payson and return.
Those who do decide to stay will find a quality hotel and several good restaurants and watering holes within walking distance of TTC.
With the highly successful Longhorn Basketball Academy now at an end, the Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is currently sponsoring Start Smart Basketball, Biddy Basketball and Youth Basketball programs.
Start Smart, designed for children ages 3 years to Kindergarten, has begun and will continue with sessions on Nov. 3, 10 and 17 in Julia Randall Elementary School gymnasium.
The program teaches the basic motor skills needed to play basketball including dribbling, ball handing, passing, catching and shooting.
Biddy Basketball is designed for students in first and second grades and will be held the same Saturdays as Start Smart also in JRE gym.
Biddy Basketball reinforces basic motor skills and fundamentals necessary to play organized basketball.
Parents are required to attend and participate in both Start Smart and Biddy Basketball.
Youth basketball is held over the course of three seasons for a trio of grade levels.
The 7th- and 8th-grade league began playing games Oct. 26 and will continue to Dec. 8 in the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium.
The 5th- and 6th-grade league will be held Dec. 8 to Jan. 26 also at RCMS. The 3rd- and 4th-grade league will be conducted Feb. 2 to March 11 in JRE gym.
Players in all three leagues will receive a team T-shirt.
The fee for all the basketball programs from Start Smart to the 7th- and 8th-grade league is $30.
Many current and former PHS basketball standouts began their careers playing in the town programs.
For more information, call the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 or log on to: www.payson rimcountry.com.