For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you know that one of my hobbies is cars. I love cars, especially good old American muscle. Every June, I try to attend the annual Rat Fink Reunion car show that is held in the city park in Manti, Utah.
Rather than spending time here explaining the Rat Fink thing, just go to that highlighted link. However, what I would like to do today is to give you more of a background and cultural perspective on this car show. To understand my fascination and love for this show, you must get an understanding of the central Utah culture and the corresponding Rat Fink counterculture.
Manti, Utah is a small rural community located in the central part of the state on Highway US 89 about 130 miles (209 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City. The town was founded by Mormon pioneers back in the later 1800s, and was primarily an agricultural hub. There is another small town a few miles north of Manti known as Ephraim that is home to a small rural Utah college, Snow College.
This part of Utah is about as conservative as it can get with well over 90% of the population being Mormon, officially known as Latter Day Saints. This conservative church culture pervades all aspects of life in this part of the state. Rural Utah votes almost 100% Republican. In fact, a few years ago when my friends and I were at the Rat Fink Reunion show, we decided to catch some lunch at a place called the Malt Shop up in Ephraim. (The Malt Shop is an Ephraim icon with excellent burgers.) I made the mistake of trying to order an iced tea with my burger. This is the response that I got from the girl behind the counter, “Oh! We don’t serve that kind of drink here.”
Now just think about that for a second, and you will begin to understand how incredibly conservative this part of Utah is. It’s not like I was trying to order a bourbon or a Long Island iced tea. So this show is a celebration of a counterculture movement that was started back in the later 1950s that is 100% contrary to almost everything else in this part of Utah. The founder of Rat Fink, Ed Roth, was by all other measures a total rebel. If you Google “Rat Fink” you will get a feel for the radical counterculture and artwork that was born through Ed Roth.
So here’s this car show full of all kinds of funky characters and wild vehicle’s located smack in the middle of one of the most conservative areas of the United States. And the show is celebrating this total rebellious culture. One of the things that I love most about this car show is that it is such a complete contrast to where it’s held.
Manti is most famous for its Mormon Temple, constructed in the later 1800s. In fact, the town’s name, Manti, comes right out of the Latter Day Saints holy text, the Book of Mormon. And yet for one weekend in early June each year, the town transitions from its straight-laced, button-down demeanor to a wild party atmosphere featuring about as many colorful characters as you could find anywhere along with an incredibly diverse collection of classic vehicles. And at least for this one weekend, everyone seems to get along incredibly well.
The whole show atmosphere is quite laid-back and friendly. Many folks, including many of the exhibitors, have their dogs with them. And those coolers under the shade canopies are not just full of water and soda pop. I wanted to include several photographs of the town and a couple of the Mormon Temple, so that you could get an idea about the culture of the area rather than just a bunch of photos of the vehicles in the show.
Now that you have a little better feel for what Manti all about, I hope you enjoy my little photo essay of the 2019 Rat Fink Reunion car show.
And now, here are some photos from the 2019 Rat Fink Reunion Car Show. Have fun!
I really hope that you had as much fun with this story about the 2019 Rat Fink Reunion as I had being there. Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog.
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