Camp Tontozona Activity Has Area Abuzz

ASU quarterback Michael Eubanks avoids a tackle during this morning's practice at Camp Tontozona.

Photo by Andy Towle. |

ASU quarterback Michael Eubanks avoids a tackle during this morning's practice at Camp Tontozona.


Christopher Creek’s neighbor four miles to the east is abuzz as Camp Tontozona opened to football practice on Tuesday. Coach Todd Graham returns the Arizona State University to the camp for the second year to a Sun Devil tradition that had a four-year hiatus under a previous athletic director and former coach.

The weather forecast looks good for the week and the Saturday scrimmage.

Last year’s program ended with a crescendo as a violent thunderstorm scattered the faithful, some “wearing” their lawn chairs for protection from the fierce rain and hail.

Camp chatter this week has Will Sutton, ASU defensive tackle who resides in opponents’ backfields, finding himself in ASU’s backfield as a fullback, on occasion. Remember, the scrimmage is at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 17 at Tontozona. See you there!

Kickoff for the Camp Tontozona social calendar was last Saturday evening as Lynn and Sue Hess hosted festivities on their newly “decked out” deck. Fourteen friends and neighbors, including a couple of token U of A fans were in attendance! Great job, Sue!

Passing by last Saturday, Sue Wilcox and grandson Mason, 7, stopped by to inquire which direction was north. After pointing out the appropriate direction, a question was put to Mason as to whether he knew how to find the North Star. He cut my explanation off short saying, “I have to be in bed by eight.” Undaunted. A further attempt was made to explain the procedure of finding the Big Dipper to locate ... that, too, was cut short with a dismissive curtness when he said, “My dad has an app for that.” Mason, Morgan, 9, and their folks stay in the Creekside RV park, next door to Sue.

Way up near the end of See Canyon Summer Homes, there are places where you are so close to the Rim you have to look up to see it. The deck of one such cabin was the setting for the Don and Chris Farmer vows last Saturday. Family members came in from all parts to witness the event. Don grew up spending summers in the Creek back in the 1960s. He and Chris are avid white-water boaters. Don confided that this was not something they rushed in to, that they have been planning their day for nine years.

The Wildflowers of the Creek met for lunch at Chili’s, joined by a couple of Bachelor Buttons. Olive, Sambob, Margo, Karen, Jeannie, Dean and yours truly were surprised by Anthony Acuna, who drove from the Valley.

Mimi’s Louisiana relations, Frank and Jim, were in town over the weekend for an annual visit and to “get some Mimi spirit”!

Erase that mark on your calendars, because breaking news has it the Payson Demolition Derby date has been moved up to Saturday night at 7 p.m., Sept. 7. Saturday, the Crash Dummies enjoyed Dutch oven cobbler up at Pat and Trudy Perkins’ while the painter applied his talents doing the flames emanating from the engine compartment. The entry sits in front of the Landmark, on display and for locals to sign their names and encouragements.

It was heaven on earth to be one of 17 who were on hand for Irma and Alex Armenta’s authentic Mexican barbecue on Tuesday before last. Oh, the food! After the chips and salsas, there were roasted peppers, corn and whole onions and then there were two styles of beans and two different types of rice. Carne asada, beer can chicken and pulled pork along with warm tortillas, then a squash soup and nopales ... prickly-pear cactus ... were all a part of the offering. After everybody over ate, Irma then came out, grinning ear to ear, and presents her Snicker cake, made up to look like a giant Snicker candy bar!

Coming up is the Firebelles’ Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31 and on Oct. 12 is the CKFD Car Show. For more information, call (928) 478-4011 or (928) 978-4118.

Back in the day ... Frank Kush brought his Sun Devil football legions to Camp Tontozona and soon Saddleback Mountain became Kush Mountain. The trek up the trail is roughly 1,500 yards with 300 yards of elevation change. Many a team meeting has been held at the summit. Prior to opening of camp, Kush would take his coaching staff up to the top where they would then attach a good number of colored ribbons to the branches of the scrub junipers. Coach Kush was a firm believer in hard work and discipline. When a young football player fell short in either category, he was told simply not to return to practice without, say, a pink ribbon. At a loss as to where one would find such a thing around Camp Tontozona, the rookie would then ask the veteran Sun Devil players who would simply point to the top of Mount Kush ... and that’s another week in the Creek.


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