April 20 Too Popular For Track Events

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Payson High School Athletic Director Don Heizer and track coach Jonathan Ball know now what poet Robert Burns was thinking when he penned in 1786 his apology to a mouse writing, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men (often go awry)”.

The pair understands because their best laid plans to host the Longhorn Invitational track and field meet on April 20 have gone awry.

Early this week, Heizer was forced to cancel the invitational due to a lack of participation.

In scheduling the meet months ago, the AD and coach had visions of it being a state qualifying event.

But to be a qualifier, a minimum of five teams had to compete.

That didn’t seem to be a problem when the meet was penciled in because last spring there was only one small town Arizona meet scheduled for that weekend.

But this year, four schools including Mingus, Coconino and Mogollon, decided to host meets on April 20.

Meaning schools had already committed to those and PHS couldn’t attract the minimum five teams needed. Thus, the meet had to be cancelled.

Undaunted, Heizer is promising that next season he will find a weekend to host a big time qualifying meet at PHS.

Cline benefit

Lorraine Cline Memorial Fund Poker Ride volunteer John Dryer says he took time last weekend to pre-ride the upcoming benefit route and it is 46 miles in length through some of the most scenic wilderness area in Tonto Basin.

Dryer, a long-time friend of the Cline family, says the route has changed slightly from last year due to a fire that swept through the area in September.

The route travels along FR 1411 past Juniper Mountain, the ZT Ranch, Buzzard Roost Camp and near Copper Mountain before finishing at the original starting line.

He estimates the ride will take most of the day because riders will want to stop and sightsee, eat a lunch they pack for themselves and possibly visit with other entrants.

Dryer also says the allotment of 150 raffle tickets that were sold for $100 each are purchased. The winner will receive a 2013 Polaris Ranger Crew 800 EPS Camo valued at $16,100.

The fifth annual ride, which traditionally draws throngs of riders, begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 27 at the O-bar-C Ranch in Tonto Basin.

At the start line, poker hands will be sold for $20 each and prize money will be doled out for first, second and third place.

There will be an old-fashioned benefit dinner and dance beginning at 6 p.m., Friday, April 26, the day prior to the ride, at the Butcher Hook in Tonto Basin.

All proceeds from the ride and raffle will ultimately benefit Gila County residents in their fight against cancer.

A portion of the money earned will also eventually help fund a type of free wellness clinic where Gila County residents can receive health care and check-ups.

The clinic is a big-time goal because Lorraine Cline, for whom the benefit is named, was not diagnosed with cancer until very late in the disease’s progression and had she known about it earlier, chances for survival would have been much better.

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