Kudos to Payson Invitational Wrestling Tournament Director Don Heizer, PHS coach Casey Woodall and all the volunteers who helped put on a fantastic high school athletics event Friday and Saturday in Wilson Dome.
It took hours and hours of hard work, planning and dedication to host such a highly successful tournament, and those who stepped up should be lauded for their unselfish efforts.
While the real purpose of the invitational was to provide a stage for our state’s most precious resource, our young people, to showcase their talents and skills, the tournament actually meant much more.
With close to 300 young wrestlers, their coaches, family members and fans in town, the tournament was a boon to our economy, just as are the Payson Volleyball Invitational, Holiday Hoops and Gracie Haught Classic softball tournaments.
Those visitors, some of whom have never been in Payson before, rent motel rooms, buy services and eat in our restaurants, proving the economic godsend local business persons are hoping for.
The tournament also showcases our town, schools and hospitality to visitors who often return for other stays and sometimes to purchase homes.
Heizer, a first-year athletic director at PHS, promised last summer when he took over the job that his goal was to have every PHS sport host at least one major tournament during the course of their respective seasons.
His lofty goal will go a long way in providing enhanced athletic opportunities for our young student athletes and bolster the Rim Country’s economy.
Also, when PHS teams compete at home, the district incurs exactly zero travel costs, there is very little out-of-class time and the tournaments are a chance to increase athletic coffers through concession stand sales, entry fees and admission costs.
Heizer, who has been around sports and athletics most of his life, knows well that locally hosted prep tournaments are a win-win situation for both the town and the school district.
With more events about to be included on the home schedule, there’s one remaining challenge that, if overcome, would further enhance the quality of the athletic experience and the economic value to the town.
It involves the town using its resources to help co-sponsor and co-host high school tournaments, especially summer ones when school is not in session.
Such a coalition and partnership between the town and school district could only enhance and improve the tournaments, making them even more appealing to larger numbers of visitors.
That type of spirited cooperation between a municipality and school district is occurring all around the country.
Why not Payson?
Woodall slates mat camp
All great high school sports programs are built on the foundation of comprehensive youth offerings that build interest and help mold the fledgling athletes for later years.
Payson High wrestling coach Casey Woodall realizes the importance of building his program from the ground up, which is one of the reasons he’s hosting the upcoming Junior Longhorn Wrestling Camp.
It will be held 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 in the Wilson Dome wrestling room.
The camp is open to boys in grades three through eight and will be coached by Woodall and his staff with help from some of the varsity wrestlers.
The fee is $30 and includes a Longhorn Wrestling T-shirt. All fees benefit the high school wrestling program.
Registration, which opened Jan. 14, may be completed at Town Parks and Recreation offices at Green Valley Park or at www.paysonrimcountry.com/Parks Rec.aspx.