Manti Open House will Honor Memory of “Big Daddy” Roth – Press Release 3/19/2004

DATE 03/19/2004 6:55 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Manti Open House will Honor Memory of “Big Daddy” Roth

Manti will be transformed the weekend of April 2 and 3 as hundreds of fans of “Big Daddy” Roth flock to the small Utah town to celebrate the life of the renowned artist/car designer Ed Roth.Roth, who was famous for designing and building hotrod cars and for creating the cartoon character “Rat Fink” in the 1960s, died in Manti April 4, 2001. Two years ago, his wife, Ilene Roth, the Sanpete County auditor, decided she needed to find a way for people who loved and respected her husband and his work to honor his memory.

“When Ed passed away, he had all these memorabilia in boxes, so I decided that I needed to show it.” So Ilene Roth built an addition on to her Manti home that serves as a museum of sorts for Ed Roth’s creations. “We have his art work framed and hanging on the walls, and other memorabilia on display.” The museum is open to the public year-round by appointment.

Ilene Roth also decided to hold an open house so that people could visit the museum and honor her late husband’s memory. “Last year was the first time that we had the open house, and we had about 250 people there, including visitors from Japan,” she says.

After that experience, Ilene Roth decided to make it an annual event, holding the open house each year around the date her husband passed away. “Trixie’s Second Annual Open House” will run Friday, April 2, from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, April 3, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at her home in Manti, 404 East 300 North.

“I am expecting about 700 to 800 people this year,” Ilene Roth says.

The event will include musical performances by the band Ridge Runner and displays of show cars. There will also be pin striping by “stripers.” “They will work on anything people bring in: tool boxes, cell phones, cameras, toilet seats, boats and cars,” Ilene Roth says.

Ilene Roth met her husband after he moved to Manti from California in 1987. An avid hotrod enthusiast from the age of 12, Ed Roth started out by fixing up old cars in his garage. He then moved on to building cars from scratch and quickly became known as an artist rather than a mechanic, with his creations earning the title “sculptures on wheels.”

He financed his passion by making cartoons and T-shirts, including drawings of cars and monsters driving cars. His most famous cartoon character was a rodent named Rat Fink, which became very popular in the 1960s and was featured on posters, T-shirts and more.

“The purpose of the open house is for people who admired Ed’s work to get together, remember him, and enjoy doing what he loved,” Ilene Roth says.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
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