How Ecker Hill Was Named after the President of the Utah Ski Club from the 1930s to 1940s

By Ileana Brown

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Photo of Utah ski jumping pioneer Pete Ecker at Dry Canyon near the University of Utah, about 1918. Alan K. Engen Photograph Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Peter Sandaker, formerly known as Peter Sand Ecker, was born in Oslo, Norway, on March 25, 1898, to Ole Lauritz Johannessen Sandaker and Ingeborg Sandaker. (Perry, Welland, Haws) He had six siblings, including Oline Marie Funnemork (born Sandaker), and Jakob Sandaker. (My Heritage) In 1968 The Utah Daily Chronicle reported on Peter S. Ecker in an article titled “Skiing: Sports Continue to Grow.” The article stated he migrated to Salt Lake City from Oslo, Norway, at the age of 20 in 1918. He was a Norski photographer and a pioneer in ski jumping. His passion for skiing and photography led him to create Ecker’s Photo Studio and join the Norwegian-American Athletic Club (NAAC). The club was created by Norwegian immigrant Martinius “Mark” A. Strand in 1918 to promote Utah skiing. On April 21, 1920, Ecker married Gudrun Kristine Kaalstad (1898-1984) in the Salt Lake temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They had three children: Norma Ecker Larrabee (1921-1996), Raymond Ecker (1925-2001), and Harold Ecker (1928-2015). (Haws)

On October 15, 1924, the Utah Chronicle announced the official Utonian photographer, Peter S. Ecker. His job was to take professional photographs of the students and staff at the University of Utah for the yearbook. His ads were often published in the Utah Chronicle. Before he began his own studio, Ecker was formerly with Lumier, Wilcox and Freemondo Studios until he bought the Berryman Studio on 131 S. Main Street in Salt Lake City. He renamed it Ecker’s Studio. On November 16, 1939, an ad was published in the Utah Chronicle announcing Ecker’s new Bell & Howell Filmo Camera Department containing personal motion picture equipment “to help you capture the thrill of moments you will want to live again.”

In the late fall of 1928, Utah Ski Club members Ecker and Strand pioneered ski promotion by establishing a ski jumping facility near Parley’s Summit. The club included Norwegian Americans, all interested in promoting winter sports. (Utah Division of State History) In the same year, by Christmas Day, they completed a series of jumps. In 1929, the club hosted the first ski jumping tournament on “the hill,” then known as “Rasmussen Ranch” due to its suitable terrain. (Barlow)

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Photo showing Peter S. Ecker and Alf Engen at the ski jumping tournament held at Ecker Hill, Summit County, Utah, in January 1931. Wasatch Mountain Club Photograph Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Ecker and Strand were responsible for setting up major ski tournaments. Due to their efforts, many Utah skiers were encouraged and inspired to join and participate in the ski jumping revolution. Some of the big names include: Halvor Hvalstad, Halvor Bjornstad, Sverre Engen, Einar Fredbo, Ted Rex, Alf Mathesen, Lars Haugen, Steffen Trogstad, Alf Engen, Vic Johannsen, Axel Andresen, Nordquist, and Ralph Larsen. (Utah Division of State History)

Ski-jumping continued to remain popular throughout the early twenties and thirties. The Utah Daily Chronicle reported in 1968 thatAxel Anderson monopolized the jump title from 1918 to 1922 and 1924-’27 with leaps of 80 feet at best.” Mark Strand says “The ‘Big Boom’ of skiing began in 1930. In one year we jumped into national-—no, world—attention.” Not only that, but in 1930 with the help of many supporters and the Rasmussen family, whose hill was the ski jumping location, helped create the reality of the jump. Many supporters sought out a dedication ceremony on March 2, 1930, where Governor George H. Dern named the hill overlooking “Rasmussen Ranch” after the President of the Utah Ski Club, Peter S. Ecker. (Barlow)

In 2016, Jacob Barlow wrote an article titled “Ecker Hill Ski Jump.” “Ecker Hill attracted many amateur and professional jumpers from all over the world” who competed in events drawing thousands to the state. Alf Engen, a young 20-year-old who came to Utah from Norway in 1929, made himself a name on Ecker Hill. In 1930 he leaped 247 feet in the air and broke five world records. He became a recipient of the “Skier of the Century” award. (Nelson, Barlow) “Through the continuing efforts of Strand, Ecker, and later S. Joseph Quinny, Ecker Hill became the site of national tournaments from 1930 to 1949, and was on the international ski tour.” (Bea) Not long after the 1949 National Championships, Ecker Hill’s popularity declined due to bigger and better-designed hills. The hill was also rendered “obsolete” once ski equipment and techniques improved.(Roper, Ecker photographic exhibit)

Peter S. Ecker, Mark Strand, Axel Anderson, and Alf Engen will continue to be known as the Norwegians who propelled Utah’s winter sports. After ski jumping died down Ecker continued to manage popular Salt Lake City photo emporium Ecker Studios for 40 years (Alf Engen Ski Museum, Welland, Haws) and continued to take pictures for the University of Utah’s yearbook, the Utonian. (Utonian 1941, 1944) Due to the decline in the popularity of ski jumping many tried to revive Ecker Hill in the late 1960s, but the reality was, ski enthusiasts wanted to participate in the sport of causal downhill skiing. (Mays, Roper) “Local resorts such as Brighton, Alta, and Park City began their rapid growth during the 1950s. Ecker Hill was last used around 1960.” (Roper) In recognition of its significance, on May 5, 1986, a monument dedicating the early ski jumping site, Ecker Hill was put up in Summit County, Utah (Wilburn and Jean Pickett Photograph Collection) and the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Roper)

Ileana Brown graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (with an emphasis in journalism) and Film Production. She hopes to continue advancing her skills in all things media, including photography, videography, and writing in hopes to land a career in TV production.

Sources

Joan Nelson, “Skiing: Sport Continues to Grow,Utah Daily Chronicle, December 5, 1968, 10.

Advertisement, Utonian photographs, Utah Chronicle, February 10, 1944, 2.

Utonian Pictures,” Utah Chronicle, January 6, 1944, 1.

Advertisement, Ecker Studio, 1941 Utonian, The University of Utah.

Advertisement, Ecker Studio, Utah Chronicle, November 16, 1939, 3.

Utonian Photographer is Announced,” Utah Chronicle, October 15, 1924, 1.

Barlow, Jacob. “Ecker Hill Ski Jump,” October 8, 2016, JacobBarlow.com.

Haws, Julie. “Gudrun Kristine KaalstandEcker,” Findagrave.com.

Mays, Bea. “Ecker Hill,” Summit County, Utah.

Perry, Judyth Christensen. “Peter Sand Ecker,” Geni.com.

Roper, Roger. “Ecker Hill,Utah History Encyclopedia.

Welland, Betsey. “Peter S. Ecker papers, 1930s-1950s,” Archives West, Orbis Cascade Alliance.

Peter S. Ecker, 1797-1878,” My Heritage.com.

Peter S. Ecker,” Alf Engen Ski Museum.

Roper, Roger. “Ecker Hill: A Photographic Exhibit.” Utah Division of State History.

 

Elizabeth Hayes and Modern Dance at the University of Utah

By Allison Vernon

On August 26, 1940, the Salt Lake Telegram announced that the University of Utah had hired six new teachers for the upcoming school year, including Miss Elizabeth Hayes for the women’s physical education department. As Dorothy Stowe of the Deseret News reported upon her retirement in 1988, Hayes—the first modern dance teacher at the University of Utah—likely did not realize the profound impact she would have on the department and the university over her 48-year career. Additionally, it would have been impossible to foresee the impacts that World War II would have on the university and on modern dance in general.

Throughout twentieth-century America, modern dance has been heavily influenced by elements of context and history. The multicultural influence that occurred in the United States, particularly related to both world wars, had a profound impact on modern dance education, with many teachers incorporating styles and techniques that they learned from a variety of countries. While the world was at war in the 1940s, modern dance was becoming increasingly popular. During this time of conflict, instructors had to find a balance between preserving the diverse traditions of modern dance and establishing American contemporary dance as a unique entity. (Adams and Adams Strandberg, pp. 19-20)

Elizabeth Hayes Dance Prof

“Behind the Scenes” photograph of Joan Woodbury, Shirley Ririe, and Professor Elizabeth Hayes, “Orchesis Plans Production,” The Utah Chronicle, April 5, 1955, 1.

When Miss Elizabeth Hayes began teaching at the University of Utah, modern dance was still a fairly new concept, and the university was just beginning to incorporate the style into its curriculum. According to an article from The Utah Chronicle on April 24, 1941, Hayes was able to include modern dance as a part of the annual Orchesis performance at the University of Utah during her first year as an instructor, despite the classification of modern dance as a “physical education” course. While opinions of modern dance at this time were varied, on May 1, 1941, John Whitney with The Utah Chronicle called this style a “Worthy Endeavor” and praised Miss Hayes for her innovation and artistry.

On April 8, 1942, Hayes was again heralded by The Utah Chronicle for her work as director in a review of the modern dance program. According to the article, this recital included a piece emulating the plights of the Mormon pioneers, an original folk dance choreographed by Hayes, a repeat of the popular “Age and Youth” number from the previous year, and many short dances choreographed by the students themselves. In this program, Hayes made it clear that modern dance was about using art to portray emotions and experiences, both as a method of exploration and education, which aligns with Adams and Adams Strandberg’s analysis of modern dance as an educational tool. According to an article in the Salt Lake Telegram on April 16, 1942, not only was this program educational for the dance students themselves, but also for the audiences who had not experienced this technique before.

The impact of the war was often shown in the choreography of Orchesis programs during these years. According to The Utah Chronicle on March 24, 1943, the group put on a performance that incorporated dramatic interpretations of poetry, including one piece about “the Nazi murder of the inhabitants of … Lidice.” As explained by Gottlieb in The Kenyon Review, this technique of utilizing stories to inform movement is a hallmark of modern dance, as is the incorporation of current events. (pp. 149-150)

As the war became increasingly impactful on the University of Utah, Elizabeth Hayes and the modern dance department became involved in the effort. As reported by the Salt Lake Telegram on September 10, 1945, Hayes was made a faculty member of the ROTC training program on campus. Members of the University of Utah faculty from all departments were recruited in order to utilize their various areas of expertise, and her experience as a health and fitness professor made Hayes an ideal instructor for the program. Whether it was through defiant choreography or participating in training naval recruits, Hayes and her dancers were not left untouched by the conflict overseas.

According to Stowe in the Deseret News, one of the biggest challenges Hayes faced at first was this physical education classification because she was forced to focus on the fitness aspects of her education rather than creativity. In 1966, Hayes was able to move the dance program to “fine arts,” and by 1974, students could focus on either teaching, performing, or choreographing. Hayes was incredibly passionate about teaching, and although she could have boasted of her impressive record in the modern dance department, the meaningful connections she made with her students were what meant the most.

Elizabeth Hayes Photo

Photograph of Elizabeth Hayes, Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 15, 2007.

Elizabeth Hayes left a lasting legacy at the University of Utah, both in her actions as a professor emerita and as a modern dance educator. According to her obituary in The Salt Lake Tribune (2007), throughout her career Hayes contributed to the creation of a dance major at the University of Utah, the implementation of a high school modern dance certification program, and the development of modern dance programs in schools across the country. Hayes understood that modern dance was an ever-evolving art form that must be in conversation with the context of its time. To quote Hayes herself: “The technique may have changed, but the basic philosophy, that dance is an art experience to which everyone should be exposed, has not changed. Students should learn to love movement, and recognize its communicative possibilities.” (Deseret News, 1988)

World War II had a profound impact on the world, and modern dance was no exception. Where some educators struggled to find a balance between preserving tradition and pursuing innovation, Hayes was able to build the University of Utah’s modern dance program from the ground up with an understanding of the past but an eye for the future.

Allison Vernon graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies.

Sources

“U. of U. Adds 6 New Teachers,” Salt Lake Telegram, August 26, 1940, 10.

“Dance Unit Sets Date for Revue,” The Utah Chronicle, April 24, 1941, 2.

John Whitney, “Worthy Endeavor,” The Utah Chronicle, May 1, 1941, 4.

“Dance Group Awaits Annual Recital,” The Utah Chronicle, April 8, 1942, 1.

“Patrons Hail Orchesis,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 16, 1942, 22.

“Orchesis Schedules Dance Drama,” The Utah Chronicle, March 24, 1943, 6.

“6 Added to ‘U’ Faculty, Navy ROTC Division,” Salt Lake Telegram, September 10, 1945, 7.

Gottlieb, Beatrice. “Dance Chronicle: New Trends in Modern Dance,” The Kenyon Review 12, no. 1 (Winter 1950): 148-155.

Stowe, Dorothy. “Elizabeth Hayes — She’s Nurtured Modern Dance From Bud To Blossom At the U,” Deseret News, May 1, 1988.

Adams, Carolyn and Adams Strandberg, Julia. “Access, Education, and Preservation through the Prism of American Dance,” Arts Education Policy Review 102, no. 1 (Fall 2000): 19-25.

“Elizabeth Hayes Obituary,” The Salt Lake Tribune, September 15, 2007.

Midget Auto Races

By Forest Smith

Gaining popularity in the 1930s until around 1941 when the United States entered World War II, America was experiencing a new wave of exciting entertainment. Racing. From drag races to motorcycle stunts, these events brought people from far and wide to witness the gas-powered automobile in action. Out of all the ways to race the most far-reaching and easily accessible was the midget races. Motor Sports Magazine reported in 1938 that midget racing garnered an audience of over 5 million Americans around the country during the 1937 season. Contrary to their name, no little people participated in the event. It was the cars that were the midgets.

Midget cars were small buggies with open cockpits, exposed thin wheels, and powerful engines. (Hall, p. 249) Popular Science Monthly reported in May 1938 that many of the engines came from motorcycles, outboard boat motors, and ancient vehicles. These smaller cars ran on oval-shaped tracks a mere fifth of a mile long. This allowed the sensation to spread across the country as fast as tracks could be made; some were even indoors. The small oval arenas were made of dirt, cinder, or pavement and due to their size, forced the drivers to skid around the corners for most of the race. Motorsports Magazine reported in 1938 that a wooden bowl had been constructed in the Boston Square Garden. This wooden track proved hard to navigate even among master drivers.

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Advertisement for Midget Racing, Utah Chronicle, May 16, 1940.

The small buggies—affectionately named doodlebugs by fans—could reach speeds up to 60 mph on the straightaways. These little carts were dangerous and required both bravery and skill to pilot. Injuries were common among the racers as they would take the brunt of any rollover impact directly to their head and shoulders. As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune in 1941, Charles R. Winters, 22, died as a result of a tragic incident at the Utah State Fairground track. He lost control of his midget car and flew into a railing, sustaining fatal injuries. On August 14, 1941, the Tribune reported more injuries: Tex Sherwood sustained severe burns after his car caught fire and Mike Julian miraculously escaped injury-free after a crash that caused his car to roll five times and jump a fence.

Midget auto races were held in a flurry of heats, with as many as 30 cars participating in a single evening. Popular Science Monthly reported in 1934 that the events ranged from single-lap qualifiers to a 30-lap main event. The show would take place a mere 300 feet from the audience, creating an unprecedented connection between the onlookers and the racers. Motorsports Magazine interviewed a fan in 1938 who said, “I feel as though I’ve been racing with those fellows.”

Old footage really shows how exciting this sport can be. You feel very close to the action and can see the drivers wrestling with each other and their vehicles. It is no wonder that the sport spread around the country as fast as it did.

But midget racing was short-lived in the U.S. as big stock cars stole the spotlight from the petite midget cars after World War II. (However, midget racing remains popular in Australia to this day.) The Bonneville Salt Flats just outside of Salt Lake City became an epicenter for young speedsters to race their inventions. Some of the cars used on the Salt Flats take obvious influence from the midget cars that used to run the show.

Forest Smith is a senior at the University of Utah majoring in mass communication with a focus in journalism.

Sources

“Race Driver’s Final Rites Set for Friday,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 9, 1941, 1.

Jack Peters, “The History of Midget Auto-Racing in America,” Motorsports Magazine, September 1936, 29.

Midget Auto Racing in America,” Motorsports Magazine, February 1938, 34.

Andrew R. Boone, “Racing Midget Autos,” Popular Science Monthly, May 1934, 26-28.

Advertisement, Midget Racing, Utah Chronicle, May 16, 1940, 4.

“Adair Drives to Stirring Auto Victory,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 17, 1941, 13.

“Tex Sherwood Returns to Midget Races,” Salt Lake Tribune, August 15, 1941, 21.

Hall, Randal L. “Carnival of Speed: The Auto Racing Business in the Emerging South, 1930-1950,” The North Carolina Historical Review 84, no. 3 (July 2007): 245-75.

 

 

The Story of Alta Ski Resort

By Lorenzo Pighini

Skiing serves as one of Utah’s main forms of recreation, and locals believe the state possesses “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”  However, mass public skiing wasn’t always readily available to Utahns. In the fall of 1938, the development of Alta, what is now known as one of the most elite ski resorts in the world, began. Within a decade, Alta had become a nationwide attraction. The story of how Alta came to be is quite remarkable, and certainly imperative to the growth of one of Utah’s most coveted historical pastimes.

Before skiing in Utah reached mass popularity, it was used as a means of travel throughout Utah’s rugged mountain terrain. According to A. Joseph Arave, the first Utah skiers included trappers, miners, and others who relied on skis as a means of transportation. Gradually, it became a recreational activity for those looking to tour the mountains and by the late 1920s, these tours, as well as ski-jumping meets, began to attract thousands of Utah residents. Due to the growing interest and demand in skiing, several small ski areas were developed using simple tow rope and T-bar systems. All the while, The Alta Winter Sports Association was building Utah’s first ski lift and what would eventually become one of Utah’s finest ski resorts.

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Ski Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

The New York Times reports that after Alta was destroyed by fire and avalanches in the early 1900s, the lone resident of the town was the self-declared mayor George Watson. Watson agreed to give 1,800 acres of land to the United States Forest Service. With the help of Watson and the Forest Service, the Association was able to obtain land to construct the resort. The Association raised $10,000 in order to construct the lift, and was able to obtain a permit to construct the chairlift in the fall of 1938. An aerial mining tramway was then purchased from a pair of mining men, and the Association converted the machinery into a lift. It was named The Collins lift and it scaled the mountain a total of 2,740 linear feet.

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Alta Photograph Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

After the success of constructing Utah’s first operational lift, Alta’s popularity skyrocketed. New lifts were constructed in the early 1940s, and while many ski resorts nationwide shut down throughout the duration of World War II, Alta remained open and offered recreational relief to soldiers based in Utah. The Utah Chronicle reported on February 6, 1941, that University of Utah students were able to take tri-weekly bus trips sponsored by the student ski club to the resort. As Alta began to expand year after year, so did the number of visitors. According to Anthony Will Bowman, between 1964 and 1965, over 230,000 visitors went to Alta between the months of December and April.

As ski resorts have become Utah’s largest tourist attraction, as well as one of the state’s most profitable industries, Alta Ski Resort still possesses some individuality among other local resorts such as Park City and Canyons Resort. Alta is one of only six resorts in the National Ski Area Association where snowboarding isn’t allowed. Alta has also stuck to fundamental values of skiing, focusing its efforts on providing a quality skiing experience on unmatched terrain, rather than selling out for profit or joining a massive corporate conglomerate. This refusal to adapt has allowed Alta to preserve its integrity and remain the most historical ski resort in Utah.

Lorenzo Pighini is a Chicago native majoring in communication and minoring in business at the University of Utah. He moved to Utah to pursue an education and to experience world-class snowboarding.

Sources

Arave, A. Joseph. “Skiing in Utah,” Utah History Encyclopedia, Utah Education Network.

Bowman, Anthony Will. “From Silver to Skis: A History of Alta, Utah, and Little Cottonwood Canyon, 1847-1966″ (Master’s thesis, Utah State University, 1967).

“Ski Manager Plans Bus Trips to Alta,” Utah Chronicle, February 6, 1941, 2.

Jake [no last name]. “SkiUtah License Plate.” Ski Utah, November 20, 2007.

DeLeo, William. “Alta, Utah Historical Timeline.”

Diliberto, Gioia. “Earning It; A Ski Area Without the Extremes,” New York Times, March 22, 1998.

Photo Gallery. Alta Historical Society.

 

U of U Students’ proposal of the trip to the Utah-Colorado football game in Boulder

By Ashley Ji Won Oh

This article is about the Utah homecoming football game against Colorado in Boulder. During World War II, the football team at the University of Utah participated in flight courses as part of a national program to teach 20,000 college men to reinforce and strengthen the nation’s air defense. This is because football was a nice distraction from the tough wartime abroad. Student groups held seminars about the effects of anti-Semitism on Utah’s campus. Even though the atmosphere was heavy and tragic, Utah football was a great way to forget for that moment. (War years)

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A University of Utah team practice sometime between 1940 and 1949. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

The A. S. U. U. council proposed a chartered train trip to Boulder, where the Utah homecoming football game against Colorado would be held. The proposal indicated that from this trip, students would be able to build a strong friendship and boost school spirit. The deans council emphasized that responsibility and feasibility of trust were the most important to consider for approving the proposal. (Whitney)

After weeks of delay, the Boulder trip proposal was finally approved by the deans council. The train was scheduled to depart the Union Pacific depot at 6 p.m. Friday, November 1, 1940, for the Utah-Colorado football game in Boulder on Saturday, November 2. The transportation fee for men was $12, and for women, $16. The reason why women had a higher rate is that they were required to ride in sleeper cars. The University of Colorado had a dance on Saturday evening, following the game day. Many university students attended those events. (“‘U’ Students Will Take Grid Jaunt”)

Campus royalty honored their name on Thursday due to Mary Margaret Malmsten and Robert Johnston, elected queen and king of the annual homecoming events. Marie Folsom and Ruth Hunter were elected aides to Queen Malmsten and King Johnston. After Jack Buckle, the homecoming committee president, started the events, the first official presentation of the royalty would proceed on Friday both at the gathering and the rally. Johnston, a junior, was known as a “glamor boy.” He also was the wounded quarterback of the university football team. (“Football Player”)

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The Utah-Colorado football game was featured in the 1941 Utonian, the University of Utah yearbook. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

The university students who planned to participate in the trip to Boulder had to be respectable and certify that they would show up at the football game at Boulder. The Chronicle‘s features editor, Richard B. Pyke, was critical of the strict regulations for the trip to Boulder. “At any other university,” he wrote, “the problem of arranging for a student train would be a commonplace procedure, with student officers taking charge.” Not so at the University of Utah, Pyke noted, where senior administration reserved the right to sanction the trip and establish rules governing deportment. (Pyke)

The University of Utah football team won the Utah-Colorado football game 21-13 in Boulder. Members of the alumni club there celebrated the U’s victory by having buffalo steaks at a post-game dinner. According to a November 7, 1940, story in the Utah Chronicle, club members could “hold their heads up” after defeating the University of Colorado. (“Redskin Alumni Feast”)

This article about the trip to Boulder for the University of Utah football game against Colorado is an effective way not only to study and research in-depth about university’s football history but also to compare the university’s football culture in the past and now.

Ashley Ji Won Oh graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.

Sources

John Whitney, “The Boulder Trip,” Utah Chronicle, October 17, 1940, 4.

Football Player[,] L.A. Transfer Capture Crowns,” Utah Chronicle, October 24, 1940, 1.

Redskin Alumni Feast on Buffalo Steaks after Colorado Hunt,” Utah Chronicle, November 7, 1940, 3.

“‘U’ Students Will Take Grid Jaunt – Special Train to Carry Injun Envoy,” Utah Chronicle, October 24, 1940, 1.

Richard B. Pyke, “We’ve Grown Up,” Utah Chronicle, October 31, 1940, 4.

Hinckley, Shane. University of Utah Football Vault. Salt Lake City: University of Utah. 2010.

Kerr, Walter A. Intercollegiate Athletics University of Utah 1892-1945. Salt Lake City: University of Utah, 1975.

 

 

 

The Legend of Ike Armstrong — University of Utah Football Pioneer

By Chris Frkovich

A 1940 issue of the Utah Chronicle featured a photo on its sports page of the University of Utah’s twin tailbacks, Guy and Huck Adelt, with the headline “Tacklers’ Nightmare.” The caption noted that “picking between the two has given Ike several headaches.” Who was Ike?

U Archives A-Fa IKE Armstrong 1938

Ike Armstrong in a photo from 1938. Armstrong was the head coach of the football team and the athletic director for the University of Utah from 1925-1949. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Isaac “Ike” J. Armstrong was born June 8, 1895. He played four years of high school football and basketball for Seymour High School in Seymour, Iowa, before declaring for Drake University in Des Moines. Armstrong played fullback for the football team in the early 1920s. (Kellner) According to the Salt Lake Telegram, “Realizing Armstrong’s ability as a leader,” Drake’s head football coach, Ossie Solem, chose Armstrong to assist him during his senior year and the season after he graduated.

When Thomas Fitzpatrick resigned as the head football coach at the University of Utah in October 1924, President George Thomas put together a search committee for the next gridiron leader. (“I. J. Armstrong”) In a recommendation letter for Armstrong, Solem wrote, “I am glad to tell you that he is one of the cleanest, most exemplary young men that I have ever known. If you can get him, all I can say is that you are indeed getting all that you are looking for.” The search didn’t last long as the 29-year-old Armstrong was appointed the next head coach of the Utah football team.

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An interior view of Ute Stadium, probably in the early 1960s; The Einar Nielsen Fieldhouse is in the background. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

At the time of his hiring, Armstrong also agreed to terms to serve as the university’s athletic director (AD). While Armstrong is still the all-time winningest coach and longest tenured coach in the school’s storied history, his work as AD may be more meaningful. A 1950 article in the Daily Utah Chronicle reported, “As the athletic director at the university Ike has made Utah one of the centers of the western sports world.” Under Armstrong’s direction as AD, Ute Stadium (1927-71) was built. In January 1927, the Salt Lake Telegram reported the structure initially “cost about $125,000, and will have a seating capacity of 30,000.” Of course, now (and several upgrades later) it is known as Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Einar Nielsen Fieldhouse (1939) was also built during Armstrong’s time as AD. Once the home of the Runnin’ Utes basketball team, this building can be seen at football games above the North end zone with the letters U-T-A-H on its roof. (Wharton)

In his 25 years, Ike Armstrong helped mold the winning brand that is Utah athletics. The structure that is Rice-Eccles Stadium was built under his direction. One might call it “The House that Ike Built.” Armstrong also built a legacy on a 141-win foundation, best in school history. (Kellner) That is remarkable because his final season of coaching was 1949. To quote the iconic baseball movie The Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”

Chris Frkovich is a sophomore at the University of Utah. He is majoring in communication with an emphasis in broadcast/journalism. He is currently working as a graduate assistant in video production for the Athletic Department.

Sources

“Stadium Bids To Be Opened,” Salt Lake Telegram, January 28, 1927.

“Iowa Athlete Chosen Coach Of Crimson,” Salt Lake Telegram, February 16, 1925, 1

“I. J. Armstrong, Assistant Coach At Drake University, Named By Utah Officials To Succeed Tommy Fitzpatrick,” Denver Post, February 17, 1925.

“Utah’s Ike Armstrong Holds Chance at Top Athletic Job,” Daily Utah Chronicle, March 30, 1950.

“‘Double Trouble,’ These Tricky Adelt Brothers,” Utah Chronicle, October 17, 1940.

Wharton, Tom. “Whatever happened to … Einar Nielsen Fieldhouse,” Salt Lake Tribune, July 4, 2016.

Kellner, Holly. “Rockne of the Rockies — Utah’s Ike Armstrong left lasting impression on RMAC Football,” Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, June 8, 2016.

The Origins of Snowboarding in Utah

by STEPHEN KONKLER

Snowboarding began in 1965 with the invention of the “Snurfer.” Sherman Poppen, an engineer and father in Michigan, invented the first prototype of a snowboard as a toy for his daughter by attaching two skis together side by side and putting a rope at the very front of the board for control. (TransWorld, Part 1) Not long after, snowboarding took off nationwide, and it wasn’t long before fanatics made it out to Utah for the lightest snow on earth.

Although it’s not mentioned much in Utah’s history books, Utah has been a home to snowboarding, and a dominant destination for the sport since the early 1970s. Alta Ski Area, one of the oldest ski areas in the US, started out as a small mining camp in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon in the 1920s and 1930s. Alta opened its doors to skiers in 1936, and years later in the 1970s became the first ski area in Utah to allow snowboarders to ride the slopes, with Snowbird Ski Resort close behind. (Scheuerman, “Snowboarding”)

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Dimitrije Milovich rides his Winterstick snowboard. Photo by Alan K. Engen. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

With a newfound sport on the rise and an open market demanding snowboards, a young man by the name of Dimitrije Milovich found his way to Utah and set out to invent the first snowboard without a rope for the rider to hang onto. (TransWorld, Part 1) With the help of famous surfboard shaper Wayne Stoveken, Milovich invented the first snowboard that used plastic for the base and metal on the edges of the board to help grip the snow. (Winterstick Advertisement) Milovich started out testing his prototypes at Snowbird and at Alta Ski Area. (Although Alta was willing to let Milovich test his newly designed equipment there, the area subsequently closed to snowboarders in 1984. It has yet to reopen to anyone but skiers, despite being on public land.) By 1971, Milovich had a couple of patents for his state of the art “snow surfboards” and had opened a shop to sell his aptly named “Winterstick Swallowtails” in none other than Salt Lake City, Utah. (TransWorld, Part 1)

Although the sport of snowboarding continued to grow, not only in Utah but also across the country, some skiers weren’t very happy to share the slopes with this newfound sport and the culture that followed. After a skier crashed at Stratton Mountain, a resort in Vermont, and sued the ski area, management was forced to create ski-at-your-own-risk laws and ban all non-traditional skiing sports. Snowboarding as well as telemark skiing were both considered too dangerous, and resorts started banning both all across the country. With few snowboarders willing to hike mountains to be able to ride, Milovich had to close the doors of his Winterstick stores in Utah in 1982.

But Milovich wasn’t done with owning a business. He and a man named Dwain Bush opened a windsurfing shop named Milosport. Later, it became a snowboard shop when the sport started to get back into the mainstream in the late 1980s. (Scheuerman, “Snowboarding”) Milosport is now the most popular snowboard shop in Utah, and has led the pack for snowboarding’s revolution in Utah since 1988.

After years of battling resorts for the return of snowboarding, in 1986 Beaver Mountain in Logan, Utah, was the first resort in Utah to open back up to snowboarders. (Halcomb, Part 1) After the sport of snowboarding stayed in the backcountry and off of the resort slopes for years, places like Brighton Resort, Powder Mountain, Sundance Resort, Snowbird, and many others started to see the return of snowboarding on their slopes. Although resorts all over Utah were welcoming back snowboarders, it wasn’t without stipulations. A rider certification card was required to use a snowboard at most resorts, to indicate that the rider could turn and stop without harming any skiers. (Scheuerman, “Re-search”)

Leading the pack in the fight to bring snowboarding back to resorts across the nation was a man named Dennis Nazari. Nazari was born in California and moved to Utah with his parents as a kid. Although Nazari spent most of his childhood in California, he was quick to pick up skiing and eventually snowboarding in Utah. After searching many ski shops in town, Nazari was able to locate and buy a snowboard at a local ski shop in Salt Lake City, which he rode primarily at Alta Ski Area, until they banned snowboards on Christmas Day of 1984. (Sheehan)

After Alta banned snowboarding, Nazari started the Southwest Surf Skiers Association, a program designed to get snowboards back on the slopes of resorts in Utah. (Halcomb, Part 1)

The SSSA was a program dedicated to educating people about the safety measures of snowboarding, and certifying that snowboarders could safely ride down the hill of a resort without injuring anyone else on hill. Nazari would drive up to Logan on the weekends to educate and certify riders. The rider would get an A, AA, or AAA, depending on how good they were at maneuvering their snowboard, with AAA being the best. (Halcomb, Dennis Nazari) After developing the idea of the rider certification card, Nazari brought snowboarding back to resorts all over Utah. (Sheehan)

Although snowboarding was becoming popular again in 1986, Milovich’s doors were still closed, which meant no one had anywhere to buy a snowboard. So in 1987, Dennis Nazari opened up a shop called Salty Peaks to cater strictly to snowboarding and the people interested in the sport. Not only did the shop sell the only snowboard gear available in Salt Lake City, but Nazari also started an official shop snowboarding team, dubbed the “Salty 8,” Utah’s first snowboarders to be sponsored for riding. All this was helping to make Salt Lake City and the rest of Utah a major hub for the culture and the sport itself. (Scheuerman, “Re-search”)

Utah is home to a very large ski and snowboarding community, so much that the license plates even claim the state has the “Greatest snow on earth.” Snowboarding’s culture and industry will continue to grow around the world as well as in Utah, while creating jobs at resorts, shops, local businesses, and elsewhere in Salt Lake City. With an industry booming and more people moving to Utah for the snow all the time, snowboarding will always have a home in Salt Lake City.

Stephen Konkler is a senior at The University of Utah, majoring in communication and minoring in design.

Sources

Erin Halcomb, “Dennis Nazari, an interview by Erin Halcomb,” March 28, 2012, Everette L Cooley Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Erin Halcomb, “Josh Scheuerman, an interview by Erin Halcomb, part 1,” November 8, 2011, Everette L Cooley Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Erin Halcomb, “Josh Scheuerman, an interview by Erin Halcomb, part 2,” December 6, 2011, Everette L Cooley Collection, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Paul J. MacArthur, “Snowboarding, It’s Older Than You Think,” International Skiing Association, December 1, 2016, http://bit.ly/2oVZwMI.

Josh Scheuerman, “Snowboarding in Utah: An Adolescent Sport Grows Up,” Sports Guide, Winter 2009, 10-14. http://bit.ly/2pspLva

Josh Scheuerman, “Re-search and Destroy: A Brief History of Snowboarding’s Roots in Utah,” SLUG Magazine, March 2001, 6-7. http://www.slugmag.com/pdf/147-March-2001.pdf

Sheehan, Gavin. “Salty Peaks.” City Weekly, August 242009. http://bit.ly/2nM5v75

“Snowboard History Timeline, Part 1.” TransWorld Snowboarding, http://bit.ly/2mqe7T7

“Snowboard History Timeline, Part 2.” TransWorld Snowboardinghttp://bit.ly/2mHJeW0

Advertisement for Winterstick, Newsweek, March 1975.

Creating and Building the Pride of Utah Marching Band, 1940s-1960s

by MACKENZIE McDERMOTT

On October 10, 1940, the Utah Chronicle reported the exciting news that the University of Utah band would present its new “costumes” to the student body “with some display of marching” at the upcoming Homecoming game. The article also noted that the new leader, Joseph C. Clive, promised “new and greater activity for the year.” But it wasn’t until 1948, according to Jay L. Slaughter, that the Pride of Utah Marching Band “reorganized.” That meant that the group, which had been established as a military band to perform military drills during halftime at football games, transformed into a 120-piece “marching unit using fast cadence [tempo, or speed of music] and fully uniformed.” (Slaughter, 8) The band stopped running military drills and started putting on shows that would be performed during halftime; they also started working on music to play at other school events. When the band was reorganized, the organization lobbied to expand the program. The band never competed in formal marching competitions, but was constantly being compared, in quality, to other bands across the nation.

The year that the band made the transition, it began to pick up speed with a guest conductor, Ronald D. Gregory. The Salt Lake Telegram reported on July 12, 1948, that he had been hired to lead the band. Gregory, a graduate of Ohio State University, conducted the band in a six-week course. One of his main goals, as reported by the Salt Lake Telegram on July 12, 1948, and the Utah Chronicle on July 14, was to prepare for a football game in Los Angeles that would be held on September 17. Gregory received $5,000 to purchase new instruments and uniforms for the band. The Utah Chronicle shared some of the ways the University of Utah marching band planned to impress the Southern California Trojans with “showy marching formations and such unusual designs as a moving covered wagon with rolling wheels.” Despite the band being bigger than it ever had been, with 120 people, the Sugar House Bulletin reported in August that the band was still looking for and auditioning people to join.

HomecomingUniversityofUtah

A band marches in a parade associated with The University of Utah’s homecoming celebration. Courtesy of Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

In 1952, the marching band’s success was still being attributed to Gregory. The Daily Utah Chronicle reported that “much of the credit for a superior band should be given to Ronald Gregory.” According to the article, he was the first in the West to march the band group as fast as 180 beats per minute, and was one of the first to have a themed show for halftime. Marching Utes, members of the marching band in 1952, were also mentioned in the article for forming a block U on the field to create a “brilliant show.” At that time, all 120 members of the band would practice every day for an hour, along with extra rehearsals before games, for one and a half credit hours.

In Slaughter’s The Marching Band, he includes a survey that he based some of his findings on. One of the questions was designed to find out if band directors across the nation preferred men or women for the position of drum major, who are the student leaders of the band. The survey showed that most directors did indeed prefer men to women in this leadership position, although in 1958, the Salt Lake Times advertised for majorette tryouts at the U. The major and majorette auditions in 1958 were open to both men and women, putting the U ahead of many other bands across the nation that required men for the role. Auditions for the position were for university students, as well as high school seniors, who were eligible and willing to try for the position. Drum majors at this time would often twirl batons to infuse the audience with excitement.

After Gregory’s leadership, the Pride of Utah was able to gain high marks all across the nation under the direction of Forrest D. Stoll, who took over in the 1950s. By then, the Ute marching band was being ranked alongside some of the best marching bands in the country. According to a story published in the Chronicle on October 30, 1959, the band was comparable to those at institutions including UCLA and Michigan State University. The campus newspaper acknowledged Stoll’s “fine directorship” and commended his “capable assistant,” Loel Hepworth. “These two men work very hard to maintain the high standards of the Utah band,” noted the reporter. The consistently high standards held by Stoll and Hepworth pushed the band toward greatness. The Chronicle also mentioned the drum major, Lamar Williams, and the baton twirler, Karen Berger, who were strong examples of hard work for the band, as well as the entire university. The band at the time could not have been made possible without the hard work of each of these individuals.

The marching band at the University of Utah owes much of its success to a six-week guest conductor and all of the highly dedicated students who choose to give up their time to play a part in something greater than themselves. Today, the marching band has reached over 150 students under the direction of Dr. Brian Sproul. These students take two hours out of their day, Monday through Friday, and give extra time on days of football games. On game days, the band goes from tailgaters, an event where fans park cars and trailers and often indulge in barbeque before the game; to the Ute walk, where the fight song is played repeatedly as the team enters the stadium; to a performance on the field before the game (pregame); to the actual game and halftime. The University of Utah Pride of Utah Marching Band still performs in home games and across the nation for away games. But the group doesn’t just play at sporting events. The band can also be heard playing in ceremonies at the University of Utah, and welcoming incoming freshmen with the University’s fight song. The band continues to strive for excellence to live up to their name, Pride of Utah.

Mackenzie McDermott is a freshman at the University of Utah, majoring in journalism McDermott has participated in concert bands for seven years in Las Vegas, Nevada. Throughout her time at Cadwallader Middle School and Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, a performing arts high school, she played the flute. She marched for the Pride of Utah Marching Band, and played piccolo, in Fall 2016. She performed in a University of Utah concert ensemble, on flute, in Spring 2017.

Sources

Bob Foreman, “Ute marching band ranks high,” Utah Daily Chronicle, October 30, 1959.

“U. of U. to Conduct Majorette Tryouts,” Salt Lake Times, May 9, 1958.

“The Last March,” Utah Daily Chronicle, December 1, 1952.

“U. Names Band Leader For 6-Week Course,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 12, 1948.

“U band gets guest conductor, $5000,” Utah Chronicle, July 14, 1948.

“Positions Open In Largest Band In U of U History,” Sugar House Bulletin, August 6, 1948.

“Man of the hour! Gregory talk of Uteville after band revamping,” Utah Chronicle, October 7, 1948.

“University Band Elects Chiefs For New Season,” Utah Chronicle, October 10, 1940.

The University of Utah Marching Band: 1965 handbook. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1965.

Slaughter, Jay Leon. The Marching Band. Department of Music, University of Utah, 1950.

 

 

Horse Racing at the Utah State Fair and Pari-Mutuel Betting

by HALIE BERRY

The Utah State Fair has been a cornerstone of Utah history even before Utah became a state in 1896. The original development of the fair was to promote “self-sufficiency” within agricultural production. The first fair, known as the “Deseret Fair,” was held in October 1856 under the supervision of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society.

After its opening, the fair received little financial help from the Territorial Legislature and moved to various locations. Nevertheless, it was able to persevere as an annual event and in 1902 the Legislature purchased 65 acres for the purpose of assisting the local community. (Utah State Fair History)

In this pursuit, the fair had become a favored part of the horse racing industry in Utah. Horse races were featured on a new track and a covered grandstand welcomed spectators dressed in their best attire to enjoy the event. By 1909, horse racing in Utah developed similar rules and regulations to that of other organizations around the country and continued to gain increased popularity. Despite the success of the horse racing industry, there was rising opposition against it. Track owners were considered biased in the handling of wagering and during that time bookmakers were hired by the track. Utah had no state agency to oversee and/or regulate bookmaking of the horse races. (Westergren, 7)

By 1913, the belief of “dishonesty” within horse racing clouded the industry and the Salt Lake Herald and the Deseret News wrote lengthy editorials in 1909 and 1913 about the problems horse racing caused and why it should be banned. Westergren summarizes the reasons they offered, including: “The ‘fixing’ of races by dishonest horse owners and jockeys who ‘fleeced the public’ rather than providing, good, honest sport; the loss of spectators’ money in wagering at the track, depriving honest local merchants of sales and profits; the rise in crime that generally accompanied racing meets; and the moral impact of horse race gambling on individuals and families.” By February 17, 1913, Governor William Spry signed an anti-racing law initiated by Charles R. Mabey. The legislature passed the bill after a month-long “acrimonious debate.” (Westergren, 8)

In February 19, 1925, the Salt Lake Telegram reported that Representative Charles Redd had proposed a bill to the Legislature to legalize pari-mutuel betting and horse racing under a new state horse racing commission. Redd believed that horse racing was “the sport of kings” and should be re-established in the Utah industry. The bill proposed that the governor appoint a three-member committee to control the pari-mutuel betting system under new regulations by the commission. The bill gained traction among the legislature, but in March 1925, according to the Salt Lake Telegram, Sen. Herbert S. Auerbach considered the races “to be the most vicious forms of gambling and would bring into the state the worst riffraff of its kind.” This quote came after Auerbach admitted to not being “strait-laced” and dipping his hand in betting on a few races at the track.

State_Fair

A large crowd ventures to the Utah State Fairpark to watch horse racing in 1907. Shipler Commercial Photographers Collection, Mss C 275, Utah State Historical Society. Reprinted with permission.

Despite some pushback, the House Legislature passed the proposed bill on March 7, 1925, by a vote of 41 to 4 with ten members absent and by March 11, 1925, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 12 to 5 with three absent. The law was signed by Governor George Dern and became effective on May 12, 1925. For the first time in twelve years, the horse racing industry was revived and the pari-mutuel betting system was now legal. Many who approved the bill believed horse racing was a “clean” and “respectable” sport and that the new law would encourage breeders to produce competitive offspring, bringing in a renewed source of revenue into the state. (Westergren, 8-9)

By April 1925, the fairgrounds needed improvements. Fred Dahnken and William P. Kyne, well-known men in the horse racing industry who conducted successful races in Phoenix and Reno, proposed a deal with the state fair board and were approved for a $60,000 track deal to develop horse racing over the next ten years at the Utah State Fairgrounds. According to the Salt Lake Telegram, this agreement included improvements to the existing grandstand, paddocks, jockey room, horse stalls, and fences.

Utah_State_Fair_Association___Trotters

Two racers wait outside the fairgrounds in 1908. Shipler Commercial Photographers Collection, Mss C 275, Utah State Historical Society. Reprinted with permission.

As opening day drew nearer, things were in full swing to prepare for the event. The Salt Lake Telegram reported on June 6, 1925, that a new chute would be added to the track, extending the length of the race to run up to a three-quarter-mile. Artisans put final touches on the barns, pari-mutuel booths were set up, and jockeys and exercise boys warmed up horses on the track. On June 8, the Salt Lake Telegram announced the program of the State Fair’s “Inaugural Day” and informed readers that July 2 would kick off the horse racing season with a $1,500 purse.

The Salt Lake Telegram reported on July 1:  “Several carloads of horses, in prime condition, arrived at the track today and yesterday and still more are due this evening which will swell the number of equine nobility to participate in the coming meeting to a full 400 head.” C. B. Irwin, owner of at least 21 thoroughbreds at the races, believed his top horse that he called the “route-goer,” Lizette, would be the one to beat. “He would run her from the car to the track, that’s how good he thinks Lizette is,” observed the newspaper. At last, July 2, one of the most anticipated days of the year, arrived and the Utah State Fair officially opened the races under the new Horse Racing Commission. A large number of people ventured to the track to take in and bet on some of the top thoroughbreds competing.

The new system controlled the odds of the race; no jockey, bookie or horse owner could “fix” the race ahead of time. The minimum wager was $2.00. Bettors could choose from three types of tickets to place on a horse: win, place, or show, similar to other races. According to Westergren, “This ticket system was universally used at all tracks where the pari-mutuel system was functioning. The rules placed no limit on the number of tickets a bettor could buy. He might put down money on every horse in the race if he chose. However, payoff came only if the participant held a ticket for a horse that finished in one of the first three positions.” Tickets purchased from a pari-mutuel betting machine were cashed in to verify receipt of the wager amount. Odds were based on the wagers at the track and the money collected from their bets, rather than fixed, random odds by a bookie. Therefore, bettors wagered against themselves. Once expenses were paid to the state and licensed track owner, the remainder of the pool was divided among those with winning tickets. (Westergren, 12, 10)

The Salt Lake Telegram reported on July 3, 1925, “Women dressed in their fine summer clothes added a touch of color to the scene. The pari-mutuel machines received a good play, a fact which testified by the clicking one constantly heard as wagers were made.” The day was considered an overall success, according to William P. Kyne, the general manager of the State Fair races. On July 3, 1925, the Salt Lake Telegram highlighted, “Running strongly to the front, Lizette never placed the issue to doubt and ran to victory with more than two lengths to spare,” living up to Irwin’s expectations. It was estimated that between 3,500 and 10,000 attended opening day, including Heber J. Grant, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Governor George H. Dern, Salt Lake City Mayor C. Clarence Nelsen, and several other government officials. (Westergren, 14)

Overall, the races were financially successful as they hoped; from May 12, 1925, through the end of 1926, it was reported that racing brought in an additional $129,646 in total revenue. Business and community support was at an all-time high. But by February 1927, public concern with ethical issues of horse racing and betting affected support for the sport. Just two years after the passage of Representative Redd’s bill, pari-mutuel betting would again be banned by the Utah Legislature after accusations of corruption. (Westergren, 15)

Utah_State_Fair___P_26

Horses and buggies race to an exciting finish in 1904. Shipler Commercial Photographers Collection, Utah State Historical Society. Reprinted with permission.

In March 1992, the Davis County Clipper reported that Utah horse breeders had filed a petition to get pari-mutuel betting on the ballot, which would give counties the right to decide whether or not they would approve pari-mutuel wagering at horse races in their jurisdiction. According to the article, “The funds collected in the pari-mutuel wagering will be used to support the public, promote economic growth and reduce taxes.” Even though the bill made it on the ballot, late opposition from the LDS church prevented the bill from passing.

It’s been 90 years since pari-mutuel horse race betting has been legal. However, the positive impact it had on Utah’s economy shows the progressive role it can play today. It’s reported that the Utah State Fairgrounds is in a state of distress. Brian Grimmett of KUER reported on March 27, 2014, that an audit by the Utah State Auditor found the Utah State Fair Corporation is highly subsidized compared to similar state fairs around the country: “The legislature has given the fair more than $6.8 million since 2004. Meanwhile, attendance has decreased almost every year since hitting a peak in 2008.” Many of these concerns are due to the crumbling infrastructure. Legislative auditors are concerned if a plan to update and improve fair park facilities isn’t in place, the State Fair will be destitute in a few years, reported Judy Fahys of KUER.

The horse racing/breeding industry is an established sport in Utah. Allowing pari-mutuel betting or a similar system would be an incentive for members of the community to get involved, support the races and generate a year-round source of income to update and maintain current buildings at the state fairgrounds. Pamela Wood of the Baltimore Sun reported on March 18, 2016, that a new track deal allowed off-track betting at the Maryland State Fair all year. It was projected to generate upward of $500,000 per year in revenue for the Maryland Jockey Club, horsemen, and building upkeep and maintenance. Passing a similar bill here in Utah would allow the state fair to create new sources of revenue while continuing the tradition of the fairgrounds for future generations.

Halie Berry graduated in May 2017 from The University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication with an emphasis in sports broadcasting.

Sources

“Huge Throng Thrilled as Lizette Wins Feature of Opening Day,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 3, 1925.

Track and Equipment is Ready for Opening Event,” Salt Lake Telegram, July 1, 1925.

Program Announced for the First Five Days’ Racing,” Salt Lake Telegram, June 8, 1925.

“Fair Grounds Race Track to Have ‘Chute Added,’” Salt Lake Telegram, June 6, 1925.

“Fair Grounds Track Deal is Made,” Salt Lake Telegram, April 15, 1925.

Senate Overrides Dern’s Veto of McCarty Election Measure; Utah Horse Racing Bill Passes,” Salt Lake Telegram, March 12, 1925.

“Solon Revives Horse Races in House Measure,” Salt Lake Telegram, February 19, 1925.

Horse Breeders Want Pari-Mutual Vote,” Davis County Clipper, March 31, 1992.

Our History.” Utah State Fair, http://utahstatefair.com/history

Fahys, Judy. “State Fair Park’s Future Remains Uncertain.” KUER, June 19, 2014, http://kuer.org/post/state-fair-parks-future-remains-uncertain#stream/0

Grimmett, Brian. “Utah State Fair Under-Attended and Over-Subsidized.” KUER, March 27, 2014, http://bit.ly/2pm6r2R.

Luhm, Steve. History of Horse Racing in Utah.” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 2, 2006http://bit.ly/2plUp9n.

Westergren, Brian N. “Utah’s Gamble with Pari-Mutuel Betting in the Early Twentieth Century.” Utah Historical Quarterly 57, no. 1 (Winter 1989): 4-23.

Wood, Pamela. “Community, state fair reach deal on off-track betting at the fairgrounds,” Baltimore Sun, March 18, 2016, http://bsun.md/21ALmMz.

 

 

Brigham Young University Athletics “blind-cited” by National Women’s Law Center on 25th anniversary of Title IX

by MICHAEL CHARLES WATERS

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding.

Twenty-five years after it was enacted, Brigham Young University found itself in trouble with the federal law. The law was signed in 1972 by President Richard Nixon to give equality to women in programs that provide education. The law states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” (United States Congress)

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on March 2, 1997, that BYU claimed its athletics program had given varsity status to sports in which female athletes had shown interest and ability to compete. BYU women’s athletic director Elaine Michaelis said BYU had what it needed for quality programs, but that there were some areas that needed improving. She also pointed to progress with upgrading women’s locker rooms, ensuring that practice facilities were equal, and adding a women’s soccer team to increase the number of women’s scholarships. But, in order to afford scholarships for women’s soccer, BYU had to shift money from the men’s sports. One of those sports was men’s wrestling.

The Deseret News reported on March 11, 1997, that BYU wrestling was on the bubble and was close to discontinuation. Head wrestling coach Mark Schultz was having a difficult time recruiting athletes to BYU, because scholarships were scarce due to BYU’s continued efforts to comply with Title IX. Funds were being taken from wrestling and reallocated to other areas, and Schultz was told his position would be adjusted to part-time status. Athletic director Rondo Fehlberg, who was an All-American wrestler at BYU in the early 1970s, had mentioned that his preference was to add sports instead of dropping them. But if it became necessary for gender-equity, he would drop wrestling. Per former U.S. Department of Justice policy advisor Jessica Gavora:

“…No men’s program is exempted, no matter how successful or established… Brigham Young University eliminated its top-10-ranked men’s gymnastics team and its top-25-ranked wrestling team.” (53)

BYU’s head track coach Willard Hirschi also had some troubles with Title IX. Hirschi said in an interview with the Deseret News on March 13, 1997, that the men’s team was only allowed 12 scholarships for 19 events, while the women’s team was awarded 18 scholarships. Part of the reason women had more track scholarships than men is that an imbalance is created by the large number of football players awarded scholarships. The total number of financial awards allocated to other men’s teams is then adjusted accordingly. This didn’t sit well with Hirschi.

TitleIXComplianceCommitteeCharter11-25-13_0

The first page of the charter prepared by the Title IX Compliance Committee at Brigham Young University.

The Deseret News, BYU’s own Daily Universe, and The Salt Lake Tribune reported on June 3 and June 4, 1997, that the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) filed complaints against 25 schools, including BYU, stating that the institutions were not in compliance with Title IX. The complaint alleged that female varsity athletes were not receiving the same benefits by way of scholarships as the men were.

R. J. Snow, vice president for advancement at BYU, said in an interview with the Deseret News on June 3 that the institution was making considerable advancements when it came to women’s collegiate athletics. He also said that the motivation behind the complaints directed at BYU and other institutions, including Utah State University, was mainly for publicity and that the NWLC went to the media first before contacting the listed schools. In a statement to the Deseret News, NWLC co-President Marcia D. Greenberger said female athletes were putting forth a lot of effort, but were getting the short end of the stick when it came to getting scholarships.

The Daily Universe reported on June 4, 1997, that the complaint’s purpose was to have the schools in violation work with the Office of Education for Civil Rights. According to what Michaelis told the Universe, BYU had been doing just that for the past three years. The Universe also reported that the claims requested that women’s teams have equal locker space, the same quality of media guides and the same room and board opportunities as male athletes. After a random audit two years prior to the claims from the NWLC, BYU completed a new women’s locker room that provided more space. But Michaelis said the national scene was changing and BYU needed to look further at improving the women’s program. Otherwise, BYU would lose all federal funding.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on June 4, 1997, that the BYU student body was made up of 52 percent women, but that women only made up 38 percent of the school’s varsity athletes. They also reported that the women’s varsity teams only received 30 percent of the school’s monetary awards in athletic-related student aid. This was an infraction of Title IX.

On June 7, 1997, The Salt Lake Tribune published another story stating that it was odd to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Title IX by filing complaints against just 25 schools. Indeed, as Fort Worth Star-Telegram journalist Andy Frielander reported, there were 305 Division I schools in the National Collegiate Athletics Association in 1997. The Tribune’s article reiterates the complaint that the 25 schools should offer the same number of scholarships between women and men as well as a standard that the percentage of woman in the student body should equal the percentage of female varsity athletes. The Tribune also quotes Title XIV as it pertains to athletic scholarships:

“To the extent that a recipient awards athletic scholarships or grants-in-aid, it must provide reasonable opportunities for such awards for members of each sex in proportion to the number of students of each sex participating in interscholastic or intercollegiate athletics.” (U.S. Department of Education)

The Tribune added that institutions of higher learning should strive for gender equity in both participation and scholarship awards.

On June 20, 1997, syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman wrote in the Deseret News that Title IX has not equalized opportunities for women in sports.

“In 1972, Title IX was passed in the name of fairness. Why pay the tax dollars so our sons could play but not our daughters? But the playing field is not yet truly level. There is barely a school in the country in which the proportion of women athletes matches the proportion of women students.”

Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune reported on December 9, 1997, that Michaelis said that Title IX has helped women gain many opportunities in sports. Female athletes were starting to get more of what the men got.

On December 11, 2011, the Daily Universe reported that the playing field for women in sports was leveling out. But there is still a problem for some men’s teams, because football is included in the scholarship count.

“There are 4.5 scholarships given to the men’s tennis program and 8 to the women’s, 9.9 to the men’s swim and dive team compared to the 14 women receive, and 12.6 for the men’s cross country/track and field team, whereas the women’s squad gets 18 at BYU. As a result, the fairness of Title IX continues to be debated among those affected by it.” (Ellett)

This shows that BYU was making progress toward total compliance with Title IX, regardless of lack of scholarships for male athletes not playing football.

On August 8, 2012, The Daily Universe reported that the decision to cut men’s gymnastics and the wrestling team further helped BYU be compliant with Title IX: “That decision has helped BYU to better meet the standards set for Title IX and allow the university to use its resources in the best ways possible.” Janie Penfield, BYU associate athletic director, also said in the article that schools are only checked occasionally to make sure they meet Title IX requirements. If schools show little to no progress, they will be penalized.

A committee charter from 2013 illustrates that BYU continues to push for full compliance with Title IX.

Michael Charles Waters is a junior at The University of Utah majoring in mass communication with an emphasis in journalism. He has worked for Salt Lake Community College, where he had his own sports talk show for school radio and television, and interned with the Utah Jazz in video production. He currently works at The University of Utah filming and creating highlight videos for the teams as well as supply play-by-play analysis and color commentary for some of the teams.

Sources

Joe Baird, “Bridging the Gap; Utah Schools Pleased With Progress on Gender Front; Local Schools Like Their Progress,” The Salt Lake Tribune, March 2, 1997, B1.

Jeff Call, “BYU coach wrestles hard times,” Deseret News, March 11, 1997, D7.

Doug Robinson, “BYU’s Hirschi believes Title IX is hurting track and field,” Deseret News, March 13, 1997, D3.

Jeff Call, “BYU, USU among 25 to be cited,” Deseret News, June 3, 1997, D4.

Dan Egan, “BYU and USU Both Caught Off Guard By Group’s Charge; TITLE IX: Catches BYU, USU Off Guard,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 4 1997, B1.

Kathryn Sorenson, “BYU under fire for discrimination,” The Daily Universe, June 4, 1997.

“Pay to Play—Equally,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 7, 1997, A10.

Gordon Monson, “Michaelis Loves ‘Purity of Sport’ (And Winning); Michaelis Leads Cougs To the Final 16,” The Salt Lake Tribune, December 9, 1997, D1.

“Brigham Young University Title IX Compliance Committee Charter,” Brigham Young University Compliance, http://bit.ly/2p9sDMU

Ellett, Carlie McKeon. “At 40, Title IX has leveled playing field at BYU.” The Daily Universe, December 11, 2011. http://bit.ly/2oAlmb6

Frielander, Andy. “UTA meets Title IX standards—University ranks high in recent gender study,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 30, 1997, 1.

Gavora, Jessica. Tilting the Playing Field: Schools, Sports, Sex and Title IX. San Francisco, CA: Encounter Books, 2002.

Goodman, Ellen. “Title IX has yet to level the playing field for women.” Deseret News, June 20, 1997, A11.

Houghton, Jared. “Title IX: Helping or hindering college sports?” The Daily Universe, August 8, 2012. http://bit.ly/2otNvQX

United States Department of Labor. “Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972.” http://bit.ly/24uzmTF

Cornell University Law School. Legal Information Institute. 14 CFR 1253.430, Financial Assistance. http://bit.ly/2p9OCnb