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Tiff pits 2 peachy places

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It's a battle that's been brewing for years.

Georgia is the "Peach State," with license plates and a nickname to prove it.

Brigham City is the "Peach City," with a Peach City malt shop and annual Peach Days to prove it.

A potential rivalry has always been there. But it has taken the Olympics to make it real.

"Atlanta wants 1,000 of our Olympic peach pins," said Cindy Monson, director of Brigham's Chamber of Commerce. "And we only have 2,002 of each kind."

The expression on her face says "They had their Olympics, let us have ours." And Monson has responded the way any small-town chamber director would — by watching out for the home boys. She's determined to make sure every man, woman and child with Brigham City ties has a chance to buy a pin before turning the stock over to the carpetbaggers.

The city offers two pins — a fancy one for $12 and a kinda fancy one for $7. And the fact Atlanta tried to snarf up so many on the eve of Peach Days shows a lapse in Southern manners.

"If we'd known Atlanta wanted so many pins, we'd have put a slogan on them," Monson said. " 'Best Peaches in the Nation,' or 'Better than Georgia's Peaches' or maybe 'Brigham City Kicks Atlanta's Butt.' "

Sherman, apparently, isn't the only one to torch Atlanta.

Still, Monson can be forgiven for feeling saucy. She has to listen to the peach comparisons more than the rest of us. Strangers stroll into her office to pontificate about Georgia peaches. She gets mail. Not long ago she received a postcard with the words "Georgia is peachy" on it. She crossed out "Georgia," wrote "Brigham City," then tacked the card to her bulletin board.

She has also made good on her promise to pitch the pins locally. In a recent e-mail sent to former, present and future residents of Brigham City, Monson mentions the Atlanta maneuver and the attempted raids of other dealers.

"Hopefully," she writes, "we will sell them 0."

Just how the "evil empire" of Georgia will respond to this blast from the "rebel forces" remains to be seen. For one thing, in a war pitting Brigham against Georgia, the Utah city is at a distinct disadvantage. Crops are dwindling. Many of the orchards around town have been carved into building lots these days, and more than a few growers have thrown in the trowel. If an army travels on its stomach, there's probably not enough fruit left in Brigham to get the rebels much farther south than Scipio.

Nevertheless, "peach pride" is alive. And during Peach Days Sept. 7-8, many locals will proudly sport their new pins.

Wes Boman, former president of the local chamber and the composer of the Peach Queen's official anthem, "All-American Peach of a Girl," sums things up smartly.

When asked if he thought a few more songs might help local morale in the battle for Atlanta, he didn't bite.

"No," he said, "we don't need more songs. What we need are more peaches."

For more information about all this, don't call me. I'm just a war correspondent. Call Commander Monson. She's at 435-723-5761.

E-mail: jerjohn@desnews.com