SOUTH JORDAN — It started with an orange traffic cone.
Somebody decided to put one on the head of the Sinclair dinosaur on the corner of 10400 South and 4000 West, and for the Hepworths, a family tradition was born.
Sarah Hepworth lives just down the street, and her daughter thought the dressed-up dinosaur was so amusing that she suggested they put a real hat on the green, cement dinosaur outside Holiday Oil.
“So we put a witch’s hat on him, and it blew away. Then I dressed him up as a ghost. Then every single month, the kids just loved it, so I just kept doing it,” Hepworth said.
Over the past year, Hepworth has dressed up the dinosaur as Cupid for Valentine’s Day and a leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day, and more recently the Easter Bunny and a flower, complete with a bumblebee on its back, to mark the start of spring.
Today, the dinosaur is decked out in a Utah Jazz uniform, wearing rookie Donovan Mitchell’s No. 45.
“This is Dino-van Mitchell,” Hepworth quipped.
Employees at the Holiday Oil say all of the costumes have been clever, detailed and a hit with customers. But people are paying particular attention to Dino-van Mitchell, with fans stopping to take photos with the costumed gas station mascot.
“The community loves it,” said Rodney Webb, store director at Holiday Oil.
Webb said customers seem to enjoy the dinosaur’s changing outfits, so the gas station has allowed Hepworth to keep doing her thing.
“It’s just blossomed into something amazing,” he said. “Every season she decorates it something different. … She’s an amazing woman to do this for us.”
Hepworth says she’s never talked with the store about decorating the dinosaur. She used to dress it up late at night or on Sunday afternoons when there weren’t too many customers, and so people would see the new look when they went back to work or school the following Monday.
“People would crack up because they’d leave for work and here there dinosaur is dressed up again,” she said. “I’m just trying to make people’s day brighter, trying to make people happy.”
Hepworth said her husband suggested a Jazz-themed outfit for the dinosaur during the playoffs. She agreed, and made sure she had it outfitted in time for Game 5 on Wednesday.
“My husband said, ‘You really should do a Jazz one because they’re doing really good.’ And I said, ‘If I do a Jazz one, I’ve got to do it tonight.’ So I did that in a few hours (Tuesday night),” she said.
Hepworth used a white drop cloth and colored duct tape for the jersey, and she used white towels to create a sweat band for Dino-van’s head and ankles.
She plans to keep the dinosaur dressed in Jazz gear throughout the team’s run in the playoffs.
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