By Fritz Schenck
Once again I made the trek over hill and dale to the Rat Fink Reunion in Manti, Utah. For 14 years, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s wife, Ilene, has continued this tradition on the first weekend of June, gathering all forms of freaky, bug-eyed, paint slapping, monster loving artists and gearheads to mingle and eat banana splits.
For you hot rod loving gear jammers, it’s all about the car show. On that first Saturday of June, the local park is the place to be with live music, food trucks, and vendors. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it. Cars come from all over to partake in this event and I would have to say that it feels more like a family reunion than anything else. Grab a burger, sit back with a root beer, and enjoy a picnic table in the shade, then meander on over to the charity auction and grab a piece of custom pinstriped art that you can take home as a unique souvenir
The museum got a bit of a makeover this year with a new hardwood floor throughout and new display cabinets that are jam-packed with all forms of Finky do-dads and such. It’s a lot to take in, and you’ll spend hours looking at it all and remembering the neat toys, model kits and T-shirt art you’ll remember having as a kid, or just always wanting to have. I had my show rod, the “Baja Bandeeto,” on display inside the museum all weekend. You never know what you’ll see, as it’s always changing and guys are always building something new.
Outside in the yard were artists from all over the globe. Yes, you read that right. Folks come from other countries to sling 1-Shot paint in this sleepy little town. You can request a piece of art to be done, get a cell phone case dressed up, or even roll your bike or car in and get some tasty lines pulled all over it! I was painting little monsters on thrift store paintings and metalflake fiberglass surfer helmets that I made up for the event. The great Greg “Coop” Cooper was silk screening event T-shirts right before our eyes, Shane Syx was in the car tent section striping up a Harley touring bike while the owner questioned his sanity. People pulled up chairs to watch this guy work, kinda like a monkey with an AK-47, if you know what I mean. We did lose our friend Pete “The Flash” this year and had a small memorial for him in the museum where his signature bowler derby hat and paint box will forever be on display for all to see and remember. He was the consummate Fink fan.
I must say that this is a show you should attend at least once in your life. There are lots and lots of shows out there these days, I know ‘cause I go to a lot of them, but the people are great in the town of Manti, the scenery is some of the most picturesque you’ll see and the drive to and from the show is a windshield wonderland.
Big thanks to Ilene and her family and extended family for a great time and making My wife and I, and all who attend the festivities, feel like family. See you all next year, gang.