After more than 200 votes were cast online, readers have selected their top three homes in the Roundup’s Light the Rim holiday lighting contest.

There were 16 homes in this year’s contest and this year marked the first time that winners were not selected by a judging panel, but by popular vote.

Taking first place and a $125 gift certificate to the Home Center is John Temple and Peggy Graham’s home at 1009 W. Longhorn Road.

The couple’s lighting display was synchronized to music and featured a number of holiday scenes.

“It was great getting the good news, I appreciate the recognition for the effort in doing something special for Christmas,” Temple said, who dedicated this year’s display to his brother, who died from COVID earlier this year.

“This year had a sad undertone with my little brother passing from COVID. In the past years, he and I had a friendly competition. We never had a winner, it was just a way to make it more interesting and both our displays got better. When I started putting up the lights this year, that sad fact was bouncing around in my head,” Temple said. “I decided rather than being sad, I’d go all out, making sure every light worked perfectly and dedicated it to him as he and my father who were the essence of Christmas. It took almost a month to check everything and put it up, test and retest.”

For Temple, watching families drive by and enjoy the display has been a gift.

“I’ve watched children’s faces just light up watching the lights, that’s the real reward for me, it takes me back 60 years to when I was amazed by the lights on the Christmas tree. I think everyone who does something, from a single strand of lights to more elaborate displays, are winners in the spirit of Christmas and the joy it brings.”

The couple moved to Payson 3.5 years ago. For the display, Graham was in charge of setting up the Nativity and details like decorations for tree and packing in the sleigh. Temple put up the lights.

“I’ve put up lights every year, but this year was special,” he said. “With so many families being affected by COVID, I thought everyone needed something to smile about, young and old. The response from our neighbors has been overwhelmingly positive. I love seeing the cars pull up and I can hear the kids get excited about the music and all the lights flashing. Even in July when I’m working in the yard, people stop and say they love the Christmas display. I try and make it better every year hope the next year is better for everyone.”

Taking second place, and a $50 gift card, is Chad Martin’s home at 812 W. Bridle Path Lane. Martin probably put up the most lights among any entry.

He said after placing third in the lighting contest the last three years he doubled the number of strands on his home this year, weaving 60,000 lights across nearly every surface of his home and yard.

Taking third and a $25 gift certificate is the Bolliers’ home at 402 W. Arabian Way.

Homeowner BJ Bollier said in the 16 years he has entered, this is the first year they have placed.

The Bolliers’ display features 40,000 lights synchronized to music. Each song requires more than 12 hours of programming, which Christine Bollier tackles.

“We have over 200 extension cords and our mega tree is 24 feet tall and has 6,000 lights itself. We were blessed by a local amazing woman for all our newly added cut outs and handmade wood work displays this year,” BJ said. “She told us she chose us as she wanted it to go to a house with real Christmas spirit.”

It takes the couple about eight weekends to set up and the show runs from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is about 30 minutes long. “We also do a different show the week after Christmas. Show stops after Epiphany (Jan. 6).”

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