NewsUniquely Utah


Pinstripers, artists, and hot rod fans gather for Rat Fink Reunion

Posted at 12:14 PM, Jun 02, 2024

MANTI, Utah — In the first weekend of June, Manti sees an influx of pinstripers, artists, and hot rod fans from across the world, all gathering for the Rat Fink Reunion, which honors the memory and work of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth.

"It's a car show that got married to an art show that attracted worldwide riff-raff," says Sandy-based Rat Fink artist Chad "Abnormal" Norman.

Unlike similar events one may find across Utah, attendees and guests say the Rat Fink Reunion carries a more personal touch.

"It's at a house, which is very interesting," says Candi Clark, best known for her role as Debbie Dunham in the 1973 George Lucas film 'American Graffitti'. "It's very personal when it's in someone's yard."

Artists say sharing from afar helps everyone, but Utahns are kind of missing out. Norman says it's a near 60/40 split in favor of out-of-towners.

"I don't think they realize how much they're bringing to the table when they bring and share their art with us here," says Norman. "You don't know what you have in your own backyard until someone starts ringing alarm bells and shoving your face in the pie, so to speak."

Rat Fink is one of many characters created by Roth, who was known for grotesque caricatures. Over time, the character became one of the faces of the Kustom Kulture scene, which encompasses artwork, vehicles, hairstyles, and fashion that emerged out of the hot rodding scene.

Since his passing in 2001, his estate has worked to keep his legacy alive through the official Rat Fink website.