'Boys of Bonneville' on DVD released

By Stephanie Abney

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Aug. 23 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"BOYS OF BONNEVILLE" (Price Museum of Speed, 2011, $19.95)

A Utah-based, award-winning filmmaking team chronicles the story of Ab Jenkins, his famed car "the Mormon Meteor” and the history of the Bonneville Salt Flats in the documentary “Boys of Bonneville,” recently released on DVD.

Director Curt Wallin says he loves working with this diverse crew of local filmmakers. “It brings a broad spectrum to the project,” says Wallin.

David Abbott Jenkins (1883-1956) discovered the Bonneville Salt Flats could withstand driving race cars at high speeds for long distances. Using pristine footage and actor Patrick Dempsey's frequent narration, accurately scripted by Jennifer Jordan and Michael Chandler, viewers can experience those glory days first-hand. The family-friendly, 81-minute “Boys of Bonneville” was the Audience Favorite at the 2011 Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival held in St. George. The film has won numerous other awards, including Best of State.

“I think one of the clearest messages of the film parallels the pioneer heritage of this area and that is one of perseverance and endurance,” Wallin says.

Watching Jenkins break and set land speed and long distance records during his lifetime can be seen as a reflection of the pioneer spirit. Many of the records Jenkins set over 70 years ago remain unbroken. Commentary by those knowledgeable on the subject is carefully paced, giving the viewer historical insight into the life of Jenkins, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his love of his family, his faith, his state and his sport.

Wallin says he had a strong desire to remain true to the spirit of the events and to Jenkins' life. He never gave in to the Hollywood way of doing things. Marv Jenkins, Ab’s son, worked closely with the filmmakers, and also restored his father’s 12-cylinder, 4,800-pound “Mormon Meteor” vehicle.

This documentary will be enjoyed by viewers who love land racing, history, unsung heroes — but also those who love a good inspirational story.

Friday, Aug. 24, is the second annual “Ab Jenkins Day,” and the show’s director and producer will be at the Deseret Book Downtown Flagship store, 45 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the “Lunch and Learn” event, including a DVD signing and a question-and-answer session.

Stephanie Abney, an eternal optimist, retired teacher and freelance writer, lives in Mesa, Ariz., with her husband Jim. They have five children and 18 grandchildren. Her email is sabneyfeedback@cox.net and she blogs at stephaniesaysso.blogspot.com.

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