Payson High School wrestling coach Casey Woodall is hailing the May 4 off-season youth tournament held in Wilson Dome an overwhelming success.
“Things are on the upswing,” he said.
Following a full day of mat action involving aspiring wrestlers ages 5 and older, two local grapplers — Levi Herrera and B. J. Paulson — won weight class championships.
Tournament competition continues through the spring and summer with tournaments in several White Mountain communities.
Also on the wrestling scene, the Payson Junior Wrestling Club meets from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in Wilson Dome.
“All ages, 5 and up are welcome free of charge,” Woodall said. “We just ask that parents of the little ones (7 and under) stay during practice.”
At last week’s two practices, more than 40 aspiring wrestlers participated, making it one of the most successful off-season programs on the local sports agenda.
“The project is definitely growing,” said Woodall.
The coach says his goal in hosting the off-season program is “to get kids to fall in love with a sport that will help teach them life lessons and build character throughout their lives.”
Mountain High Games and Mud Run
This year to celebrate the great outdoors the Town of Payson will be putting on an outdoor sport competition. The Arizona Mountain High Games will be held May 31 through June 2 at the Payson Event Center. The events in this year competition are: The Mogollon Monster Mudder (5K mud run), an archery competition, ATV trail rides, and an old-fashioned horseshoe tournament.
Participants in the ATV rides will experience some of Rim Country’s most seldom seen backcountry and enjoy a barbecue dinner, poker run and trail riding entertainment.
The archery tournament will start at 8 a.m. on June 1. 4-H club members, amateurs and professionals are all invited to participate. Entry fees are $30 for a family (immediate family members), $20 for adults, $15 for youths, $10 for 4-H participants (or included in family fee) and peewees compete for free.
The new Mogollon Monster Mudder will provide the Mountain High Games with something for everyone. In coordination with local and regional fire departments, the Town of Payson Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is introducing the Mogollon Monster Mudder.
This mud run is a 5K mountain trail run with natural and manmade obstacles, challenging ups and downs, rocky, wooded and wet terrain and shallow water.
This will be a timed event, with emphasis on fun and teamwork to help each other finish safely. Costumes are encouraged.
The run also features a Mini Kidz Monster Mud Run for ages 6 to 12 at a cost of $5 at the start line. A post-race barbecue, live music, raffles and awards will be held in the base area.
One of the most popular events each year is the blind draw horseshoe tournament, endorsed by the Arizona State Horseshoe Pitchers Association. It will take place at noon, Saturday, June 1. Contestants are urged to pre-register if possible. There is a $10 registration fee.