Some people have photographs, but this Utahn has rubber sharks

Dec 27, 2021, 6:38 AM

MURRAY, Utah — This is the season for making memories. We save them in our mind’s eye and our phones.

Scott Stoddard, of Murray, saves them — in sharks. Rubber sharks. He has the world’s largest collection of rubber sharks.

“I think it started with ‘Jaws,'” Stoddard explains. “The first time I saw Jaws, I couldn’t watch the whole thing. It was so terrifying. (It was) really scary, but also really interesting.”

The official Jaws rubber shark. (KSL TV)

At his elementary school library, Stoddard, now fascinated by these creatures, checked out every book about sharks he could find. For Christmas, he asked for a rubber shark.

One shark became a collection and the collection became, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest anywhere. The official record was 840. He figures he now has about 1,000.

Stoddard got his first shark in 1986. (KSL TV)

In the beginning, he measured a rubber shark’s worth by the number of GI Joes they could swallow.

Now they’re not action figure-eating sharks, they’re memories.

He picks up a nondescript great white – a gift from a friend who committed suicide.

Scott Stoddard and his rubber sharks. (KSL TV)

He points out two shark water pistols – the toys he and his wife played with on their first date.

There are a handful of very small sharks – wedding gifts from their friends.

“It can take me back to that moment when our marriage began, and all the excitement and possibilities,” Stoddard says.

There’s a cartoon-ish shark – a Christmas gift from his wife.

“The feelings of Christmas and gift-giving on Christmas morning and the excitement all the kids are sharing,” he says.

“(It’s) kind of a silly thing, a rubber shark. But the way these things are tied up in our memories, it makes it matter somehow,’ he says.

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Some people have photographs, but this Utahn has rubber sharks