Friday, March 30, 2012

How Many Remember the Story of Rastus and Pep???

Just to refresh your memories............. "Rastus, Pep and Victory" A 65  Year Old Tradition
Rastus was a little black doll who sat on the piano at the old Overland Hotel situated just north of the northwest corner of 1st South and State  Street in Mt. Pleasant.  Rastus was a conversation for all the guests of the hotel for many years, and the children in Mt. Pleasant enjoyed walking past the hotel window and looking at Rastus sitting on the piano.  We don't know for sure just how many years Rastus occupied his place in the hotel.

Several years later, in 1913, Manti High School's basketball team came to Mt. Pleasant in a horse-drawn wagon for a game at North Sanpete High School.  They stayed at the hotel that night.  When they left the next morning, they stole the black doll and took it to Manti.

At the next game, when North Sanpete went to Manti to play, the Manti boyse held Rastus  out over the court dangling from a fishing pole.  The Sanpete boys tried to recover the doll, but to no avail.  But at the end of the game, some of the Sanpete boys grabbed Rastus and ran from the gymn with him.  Miss Ryan, an English teacher at NSH had a large fur muff.  The boys quickly handed the doll to Miss Ryan and ran on.  Miss Ryan hid Rastus in her muff and walked calmly toward her buggy as the Manti boys ran in pursuit of the doll.

As the rivalry went on, each school tried to steal Rastus from the one who had successfully got away with him.  Finally to foster good sportsmanship between the schools, it was decided that at each basketball game from then on, the doll would go to the winner until the next game.

In 1938, Rastus seemed to be in jeopardy of losing his home in Mt. Pleasant.  The student body officers and cheerleaders decided North Sanpete really needed some pep, so they purchased another black doll which they named "Pep".  At a pep assembly they held a wedding ceremony and Rastus married Pep.

Things went on pretty well for a long time, but in 1953, North Sanpete fell into a slump.  The school experienced a losing streak, so again the cheerleaders of North Sanpete and the Pep Club came to the rescue.  They purchased a small, black baby doll.   In the assembly they announced that Pep was dead at North Sanpete, so the student body followed the casket out to the football field where they were going to bury Pep ~~~ but they heard a loud clatter from the casket, and they decided Pep wasn't dead at all.  When they opened the lid, Pep jumped out ~~ and she had a baby in her arms ~~ She and  Rastus named the child "Victory".  North Sanpete really needed Victory!

Together, the three dolls were a trophy for each game between the two schools.

Finally, tragedy hit the family!  There were new superintend-ants in both North and South Sanpete School Districts.  Before anyone knew what was happening, the dolls were gone and a new tradition was to replace the dolls that both schools had loved for so many years.

When they were discontinued, Rastus had been a trophy for 65 years (he was the original doll, and so was several years older than that), Pep for 40  years, and Victory for 25 years.  It was with a great sorrow that the students and townspeople alike were told that the dolls were to be used no more.  The original dolls disappeared.  No one seems to know where they went.  They were in Manti's trophy case at the time the decision was made, and no one saw them again.

A Victory symbol trophy was designed to replace the tradition, and supposedly ordered to be made in Salt Lake.  However, it was never done.  Eventually, two "cabbage patch" dolls were purchased, christened Sandy and Pete, and used in their first trophy game on January 24, 1997.

(Not surprisingly)  there are other versions of this story !!!

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"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."

~Alex Haley

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