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Student Zapped by a Beulah Doctor


This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the disaster known as Zip to Zap. Planned as an innocent spring fling, kids began descending on Zap Friday afternoon, and by sundown the town of about 300 was swarming with some 2,000 drunk students. When the town’s café and two bars closed for the night, a mob mentality took over. The National Guard was called in, and at sunrise on Saturday, troops prodded party-goers out of town with fixed bayonets. Many hung-over students headed for home, but unfortunately, about a thousand simply moved on to Beulah and then to Hazen.

In near-riot conditions, kids threw bottles and rocks at the guardsmen who pursued them. Adjutant General LaClair Melhouse later told of a young man who turned his back-end toward a guardsman and yelled, “Stick it...!” The guardsman obliged by jabbing the boy’s rump with his bayonet. A Beulah doctor later stitched up the victim’s wound – but without the benefit of painkillers.

By Merry Helm

Source: Cooper, Jerry and Glenn Smith. Citizens as Soldiers: a history of the North Dakota National Guard. Fargo, ND: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1986.