Writing

“And They’re Off!” Live Horse Racing Returns to Prescott Valley, Continues Through Labor Day

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It had been nearly a decade since the sounds of people cheering as horses passed by toward the finish line was heard at the racetrack in Prescott Valley, once known as the Yavapai Downs. On Memorial Day Weekend, Friday, May 24th – Monday, May 27th, those familiar sounds returned as the facility opened its doors again to live horse racing under the new name of Arizona Downs.

“I would say close to 7,000 people came through our doors (on Opening Weekend),” Arizona Downs General Manager Ann McGovern said, adding horse racing will continue every weekend until Labor Day. “I couldn’t be happier. We had so much support from the community. We had great attendance. Everyone had a great time.”

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“Changing of the Guards” Mayor Harvey Skoog Says Goodbye to Council, Kell Palguta Sworn In

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One final loud smack of the gavel concluded 14 consecutive years, 19 total years, as Mayor of Prescott Valley for Harvey Skoog as he bid farewell to the Town Council on Thursday night, January 10th. Skoog announced in the fall of 2017 he would retire at the end of his current term.

“It’s been a super 19 years as Mayor,” Skoog told the standing-room-only crowd. “The town has been so good to me, the staff has been just great and our council, what a wonderful bunch of people they have been.”

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Return of Men’s Tennis Brings ASU a Step Closer to Goal of Becoming Olympic Mecca

TEMPE – From the day he arrived at Arizona State in 2014, Ray Anderson has worked to make the university a destination for Olympic hopefuls.

“Part of my desire coming in was (ASU) President (Michael) Crow’s aspiration that, in fact, we would be able to make Tempe, this area, the Olympic training center, the place where people can aspire to be Olympians,” said Anderson, ASU’s vice president for university athletics and athletic director.

In an athletic department that has already added current and former Olympic coaches in wrestling’s Zeke Jones and swimming and diving’s Bob Bowman, and attracted the likes of swimming legend Michael Phelps to train on campus, Anderson took another step toward his goal Wednesday. He announced that men’s tennis would return to the varsity level for the first time since 2008. Anderson, along with his wife, Buffie, donated $1 million to the program.

“If it’s an Olympic sport, we need to make this a place where folks know they can come 12 months a year and train to reach their goals,” Anderson said. “So, this program without tennis, as an Olympic sport and as an international sport, was just not whole. Well, it’s going to be whole now.”

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New Horizons Disability Empowerment Center in Prescott Valley Grows with Gym and Sports Activities

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It was Valentine’s Day 2014 when Andrew Bogdanov’s life would take a dramatic shift. While snowboarding in Flagstaff, Bogdanov hit a jump, went two stories in the air and overshot the landing. The accident left Bogdanov with a broken neck and paralyzed him from the chest down. A physical change wasn’t the only shift in his life on that day.

“A lot of people look at it as that sucks, that’s a traumatic thing that happened to your life and now you’re confined to a wheelchair,” Bogdanov said. “For me, it was the opposite. It was a near-death experience, I wasn’t doing anything with my life, I didn’t have any purpose. After that happened, it kind of made me appreciate life in a different way.”

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Chino Valley High School’s Keller Rock Wins Second State Wrestling Championship

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Keller Rock of Chino Valley High School burst onto the scene in his freshman year, winning a high school wrestling state championship.

A year later, he would fall to opponent Robert White and place third in state.

On Friday night, February 8th, at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, the two met again, this time in the division three 170-pound weight class state championship match.

Keller Rock got the upper hand and pinned the three-time state champion White in the third period to achieve his second state championship in three years.

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Bradshaw Mountain High School Graduate Headed to World Shotgun Championships in Mexico

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It’s a cloudy and cold weekday morning at the Prescott Trap and Skeet Club just outside of Prescott Valley. Joseph Witty is practicing international skeet, an Olympic sport where individuals break clay targets using shotguns.

He raises his shotgun in the air while drops of sleet fall on his St. Louis Cardinals hat, not letting the weather get in the way of practicing his sport. In silence, Joseph goes through a mental process; covering pre-shot routine and putting his eye on the visual hold point of where he wants to break the target.

Joseph exclaims “pull”, sending out the flying target. He pulls the trigger and in the flash of an eye, the once solid clay target is merely a cloud of black smoke with little pieces falling to the ground in every direction.

Boys Honored For Assisting Granduncle After Car Falls On Him

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PRESCOTT- Don Mapes was busy restoring his 1952 MG TD with his two grandnephews Wyatt and Patrick Eyler on Friday, July 14th, when the jack slipped, trapping Mapes under the car with the frame across his chest. After Wyatt and Patrick’s mother Lalanie pointed out another jack, the boys quickly learned how to operate it and managed to lift the car off Mapes.

Mapes escaped with only bruised ribs and a few cuts.

“The first minute it fell on him, I was pretty terrified,” Wyatt Eyler said. “Then once we got the car off him, I was glad that he was alive and not unconscious when the car fell on top of him.”

Wyatt and Patrick then waved down the firefighters who helped Mapes get to the hospital.

“The thing that really got to me was how calm and collected the boys stayed during the whole situation,” Prescott Fire Department Engineer and Paramedic David Haskell said. “They didn’t seem stressed out at all.”

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Healing Field Honors Victims of September 11th, 2001 Terror Attack

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PRESCOTT VALLEY- 32-year-old New York City resident Doris Torres was just one of the heroes during the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Torres, who worked in foreign trade for Fiduciary Trust International at the World Trade Center, helped an emotional colleague down the stairs and returned to save more individuals during the attack. She died five days later due to burns.

Her story joins 2,995 others on cards attached to American flags at the Prescott Valley Civic Center Healing Field, honoring individuals lost from citizens to public safety on that fateful day in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC.

Starting at 6:30 am Friday morning, September 8th, volunteers came to help place flags in the ground, attach a card to each flag and lay boots at the bottom for those lost in public safety.

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Camp Courage Serves As Yearly Family Reunion for Burn Survivors

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PRESCOTT- After suffering burns during a trailer fire in 2001 while moving, the then ten-year-old Josie Correa attended her first Camp Courage; a week of fun and healing with fellow burn survivors.

“Camp Courage has been a huge difference in my life,” said Correa who attended multiple times during her childhood. “I grew up here at the camp so it’s kind of like a second family but it also let me see life in a different way and what’s really important.”

Badgers Sink Last-Second Shot to Get Revenge on Rival Bears

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PRESCOTT- It was just over a month ago when the Prescott High School Badgers played their rival Bradshaw Bears in Prescott Valley and lost in the last seconds of the game after being ahead for most of the contest. On Tuesday night at Prescott High School, the Badgers were looking for vengeance.

“That’s all we were thinking about is just getting back at them,” said Badgers senior guard Paxton Henry.

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Students and Alumni Fulfill Bradshaw Mountain Teacher’s Dream

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PRESCOTT VALLEY- Mr. George Ponte has spent twenty-five years of his nearly forty-year teaching career impacting the lives of many at Bradshaw Mountain High School. One of those students was Chris Ames, who took Ponte’s class in the 2000-2001 school year when he was a senior.

“It didn’t really matter what he was teaching, he was so passionate about what he taught,” Ames said. “At the same time, you could pull him aside if you were having problems and he would drop what he was doing and listen.”

“Just a friend, a mentor and a great teacher,” Ames continued.

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‘2016 Was A Year of Continued Growth for Prescott Valley

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 Prescott Valley Continues to Recover from Recession and Grow in Population.

Many cities across the country were negatively affected when the recession hit at the end of the last decade and Prescott Valley was no different. Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog remembered the police department went through a hiring freeze, family incomes dropped and road repairs slowed.

However, in the last six years, the trend has been moving in a positive direction and Skoog said there has been a modest recovery in 2016 especially in the fourth quarter.

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Roughriders Soccer Achieves Program Win Number 600 In Blowout

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MESA, Ariz- The Yavapai College Roughriders soccer team tied Phoenix College 1-1 at home Thursday, September 14th, putting off program win #600 for a couple more days. It didn’t take long for the Roughriders to take control of the game against Mesa Community College Saturday, September 16th, with four goals in the first 20 minutes of the game in route to an 8-0 victory and program win #600 at John D. Riggs Stadium in Mesa, Arizona.

Roughriders soccer head coach Michael Pantalione started the team in 1989 and the program has since gone on to win seven NJCAA National Championships out of 13 appearances with the nation’s best winning percentage of over .900. The 600th program win adds another bullet point to the long list of achievements in Roughrider soccer history.

“It’s an honor for the players that have been associated with this program both past and present,” said Pantalione, mentioning that 497 athletes have suited up in the green and gold throughout the years. “They represented the school, the program and themselves very well throughout the process both on and off the field.”

“There is no magical formulas, it’s all about hard work,” Pantalione continued.

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Kids Enjoy Shopping With A Cop

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PRESCOTT VALLEY-Nine-year-old Austin Ferguson along with 90 other kids joyfully went through the aisles of the Walmart located on Glassford Hill Road in Prescott Valley on Saturday morning filling their cart up to the top with goodies for their family, friends and a little for themselves during the 19th annual “Shop with a Cop” event.

The day started bright and early as kids hopped into a police car for the ride over to Walmart. Ferguson described the experience as being in a helicopter.

“Felt like I was in a dream,” Ferguson said.

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Cody Nance Champion Again At Mile High PBR

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PRESCOTT VALLEY- Bull riding fans in quad cities know the name Cody Nance, as he took home the Mile High Professional Bull Riding tournament championship in 2016. In front of a packed crowd in the Prescott Valley Event Center on Saturday night, Nance competed against over twenty-five other riders and successfully defensed his title to win the $15,000 prize.

“I’m very excited about it,” Nance said following the victory. “It’s an honor for me to be able to win and be a two time champion here at this event.”

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Badgers’ Senior Wrestler John Dwyer Crowned State Champion

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PRESCOTT VALLEY- Friday night at the Prescott Valley Event Center was a moment Prescott High School Badgers’ senior wrestler John Dwyer has been working toward for the last four years, standing on the pedestal as a state champion in the division-three 195-pound weight class.

“It’s my dream since freshman year to have my name on the back of that shirt,” Dwyer said after the match. “It’s finally come true.”

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Weekend’s “Desert Hockey Classic” First Step to Bring Back Hockey to Prescott Valley Event Center

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PRESCOTT VALLEY- Four NCAA division-one hockey programs are hitting the ice this weekend at the Prescott Valley Event Center as 2016 draws to a close.

The Desert Hockey Classic will be making its first appearance at the Prescott Valley Event Center after being hosted in Glendale the previous year. The teams will include Arizona State University-who is playing their second season as a division-one team-, University of Connecticut Huskies, Brown University Bears and the St. Cloud State Huskies.

“It’s just awesome to have NCAA division-one sports of any kind here,” said Prescott Valley Event Center Business Development Director Satish “Catfish” Athelli. “I’m just excited to have a very high-level of hockey back in the building.”

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D-backs’ ‘Throwback Thursday’ campaign brought back rich memories for team, fans

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Down by a run in the ninth inning of Game 7, Arizona’s Mark Grace started a comeback rally that would culminate in Luis Gonzalez’s World Series-winning broken-bat single. That game has been immortalized in Arizona sports history, along with the old purple-and-teal jerseys worn by the franchise’s only World Series winner.

“That uniform for me, represents one of the all-time great teams,” said Grace, now the Diamondbacks’ assistant hitting coach. “We were a great team and obviously beat a great team in the Yankees… so I proudly wear those colors.”

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