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Soup Town Races and historic United Order exhibits draw a big crowd to the Valley

On Saturday, April 20, the second annual Soup Town Days held in commemoration of the United Order, a communal living arrangement for self-sufficiency and wide-ranging welfare provision founded at the direction of Brigham Young dating back to the early days of Long Valley settlement in 1875.

From left to right, photos by Jerry Melrose:

  • Announcer Shaun Sharkey about to signal the start of the Modified Lawn Mower Race with (left-to-right): Kevin Little, Jace Little, Colby Barrett, Paul Cox and Anthony Frost.

  • Brothers Dustin (left) and Colby Barrett switch drivers while steadying their mower in the Open Class Modified Relay Race while Shaun Sharkey announces the in-progress action and Andy Crofts (center) is ever ready to indicate the laps and finish to the drivers.

  • SJ Frost, Valley Elementary third-grader, sports the trophy he won along with the $200 prize-money for first place finish in the Youth Regular Lawn Mower category.

  • Open Class Relay winners in Carroll Arena joyfully satisfied with their $200 prizemoney are (left-to-right) Jed Bowman, Oran Stovall, Jace Little and Kevin Little.

Commencing the festivities at 2 p.m. in Orderville’s Carroll Arena, announcer/starter Shaun Sharkey described the action, “The Lawn-Mower Races are for anybody [who] wants to bring their stock regular lawn mower to one that they’ve ‘souped-up’ and put as much money and time into it as they want. And there was cash prizes for all the different age groups: the youth, the adults. We also did scooters this year. It turned out that we tripled the size from last year’s entries. So, this year we had 15 entries; last year we only had five. Shane Frost put a ton of work into it; made it fun for everybody.”

Overall, Shane distributed $1,500 for the five divisions: Adult and Youth in Regular, Modified and Moped (Adult Only) with $200 for first place and $100 for second.

Inside the North Events Center, where an exhibition of United Order era artifacts accompanied by descriptive comments by Valley Elementary School students and numerous crafts vendors displayed their wares, Emalene Lake enlightened with a few points of local trivia, “We kinda got the nickname from the surrounding communities, because soup was an easy communal dinner to serve when you have 600 people eating at one time. And so, we got the nickname of ‘Soup Town.’ There’s nicknames for Fredonia and Kanab also, but I’ll let those people tell you those.”

Here’s the way the results of the Soup Contest panned out, including their designated prizes. Grand Prize: Alexis Brinkerhoff, clam chowder (air fryer.) Runner-up: Dawn Hepworth, chicken noodle (six-quart crockpot) Second: Lexi Jones, sausage, bean and kale (six-quart crockpot.) Third: Karma Ellgin, creamy vegetable (potholder, with stainless steel measuring cups.) Fourth: Caroleen Chamberlain, ham and bean (potholders, with stainless steel measuring spoons.) People’s Choice: Alexis Brinkerhoff (six-piece stainless steel bowl set.)

While hosting a delectable several course Hawaiian luau-style 5 p.m. dinner ($10!), professional caterer Kourtney Millard shared another aspect of the committee’s ulterior motive for the raising of the necessary $400,000 for an already planned youth recreation facility in Orderville’s Town Park. “We’ve got some other things in the works and some businesses and things that we’re working on. So, we’re hoping that, you know, in about a year’s time we’ll have all the money we need. That’s the goal.”

The Soup Town Cafe on East State Street (Highway 89) houses a permanent arrangement of a miniaturized model of the actual United Order compound, which had occupied the current central townsite. There is also an occasionally open museum on the next block further east. Be sure to put the third Saturday of April on your calendar for next year’s gathering!

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