Zap, Crackle, and Riot
November 20, 2007 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Before 1969, the city of Zap was best known as the punch line of a joke about three towns in North Dakota that sounded like Rice Krispies—Zap, Gackle, and Mott. But when student body president Charles "Chuck" Stroup at North Dakota State University needed an alternative to Fort Lauderdale while stuck in North Dakota for spring break, he enlisted the help of some student journalists at the Spectrum newspaper to promote the "Zip to Zap," an event that became the only "official" riot in the history of North Dakota. The tiny coal mining town originally looked forward to the impromptu "Zip" festival, which had so much advance buzz that the Wham-O toy company created a toy called Zip Zap in honor of the imminent event. Unfortunately, after throngs of students descended on Zap, the only two bars in town quickly ran out of beer, and the North Dakota National Guard was called into extinguish the bonfire, beer brawls, and riot that ensued. For more info about about how the "Zip to Zap" fit in context with the 1960s zeitgeist, look here, here, and here.
posted by jonp72 (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Been to Zap, used to date a girl from Mott. Small world.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:29 PM on November 20, 2007

Yes. Yes it is. Too small.
posted by Floydd at 9:40 PM on November 20, 2007

Wow. I grew up in Grand Forks and I've not heard of any of those towns.
Of course I was in one of the three or so "cities".
posted by flaterik at 9:47 PM on November 20, 2007

And I meant to say I grew up in North Dakota instead of which actual city. Giving the city name makes my other comment make little sense. I am now hanging my head in comment shame.
posted by flaterik at 9:51 PM on November 20, 2007

Been to Zap, got the cap.
posted by scottymac at 11:05 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

The NDSU Giving very Southern Oregon University of them.
posted by parmanparman at 11:25 PM on November 20, 2007

This thread is incomplete without Devastatin' Dave.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:20 AM on November 21, 2007

Great post!

I guess it says a lot about the times that the national news reported the Zip to Zap before it even happened.
posted by zebra3 at 7:58 AM on November 21, 2007

I lived in Mott as a kid. Very good memories.
posted by unixrat at 8:57 AM on November 21, 2007

Ah, crap. The reflexes hit post while I was still thinking about what to write...

Anyways, Mott was a great place to grow up. Some memories:

I used to bike everywhere, but you had to be careful as there were at least two different flocks of wild turkeys roaming the edges of town. If they were close to the edge of the road they'd chase you off - you'd be biking along to your friend's house and GOBBLE GOBBLE Oh Christ! GOBBLE FLAP FLAP as the Turkopalypse descended upon you. More than once they'd actually turn me back, making me bike 1/2 mile out of my way to get around them. I relish Thanksgiving each year.

We had a winter storm that knocked out power for days. The neighbors came over with a small heater and we all camped out in our living room for several days. I recall the adults fretting about the pipes. They'd take our warm blankets for the endangered pipes and return with freezing cold ones for us to warm with our body heat. Other than that it was a multi-day camping trip for us kids.

We were pretty poor back then, so soda pop was a luxury we couldn't afford. Once there was a K of C (or Eagles/Fraternal) shindig at the park near our house. They had a pickup bed full of ice and generic pop. When they told us that we could help ourselves to ask much as we wanted, I grabbed two sodas and proceeded to drink them as fast as I could.

Then I proceeded to barf them right back up, much to the general amusement of the old men.

Good times, good times. I miss that old town.
posted by unixrat at 9:11 AM on November 21, 2007

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