*Story borrowed from HWC*
When the collecting bug bites you, it can bite the whole family. The 2011 Diecast Super Convention was held in February at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. Ken Schmidt tells us about the family adventure at the show and how they came to be there...
My family and I are fairly new to Hot Wheels collecting, but what a ride it's been already. Prior to last year I hadn't even touched a Hot Wheels car since I was a kid. It all started with one mainline car I continued to see at the checkout register at numerous stores about a year and a half ago. I told my wife that if I saw that car again, I would have to buy it. So of course that evening, we were at the grocery store, and there it was. I had to have it! I doled up the $1 and here the story begins...
I went home and started to do a bit of research about Hot Wheels and came across HWC. I immediately joined and gained a few quick lessons from other collectors, thank you. I had no idea that collecting was such a huge thing. In my research, I found pictures of some of the cars I had played with as a kid; it brought back a lot of great memories (I just wish my mom had kept them all). I then decided I would start a small collection for each of the kids. At that time, we had a two-year-old girl and were pregnant with twins; the twins are now one and our toddler is three. I figured this might be a neat thing to start for them, and me of course. Now, what to buy?
There happened to be a die-cast convention in town shortly after I joined the club, and I decided to go check it out. I met all kinds of people and, at the Hot Wheels vending machine, happened to win the entire 2007 Factory Set on my first vending machine pull. Needless to say, that was the concrete for the foundation. I was hooked. Within a few months, I had amassed hundreds of Hot Wheels. I wasn't sure where to put them all. My wife and toddler quickly joined in and began to find their favorites too. Hot Wheels collecting has become a family adventure for us. It's a fun thing to do and it gives us all something to do together. We've met some great people and I can't imagine not being a part of it all.
We decided to attend the Diecast Super Convention for our second year, with myself heading out early to scout things out. I proceeded downstairs into the big hall where all the vendors were set up and made a few "necessary" purchases. Once I secured my new additions in the car, I cleared my wife to bring the kids down to check everyone out. We all walked around for the next couple of hours chatting with vendors and collectors. We all gained a lot of info, tips, etc. on what to look for and the sort. This helped me, as my wife then became excited about a few collecting tips that someone shared. So now my "expert" wife was off to search for her own items. She took the kids and said she'd "find me later." About a half hour passed, and I was looking through a couple of tables when my wife hurriedly ran up to me requesting another $20 as she had run out of money. I asked her why and, in her short breath sort of way, told me to hurry up because Natalee (our three-year-old girl) needed another car to enter the race with. She grabbed $20 and ran around the corner, stroller and all.
Obviously puzzled, I followed to find a group gathered at the Hot Wheels race track area. My wife said we were too late, but Natalee was already walking up to the starting area with some of the loaner cars from other racers. There was a very gracious gentlemen (so very sorry I can't remember his name) who explained how the racing worked and encouraged us to bring Natalee back the next morning for the races. He then gave her a Super Stocker that he said would do well. I offered to pay him, and he said no -- the only condition was to show up and race in the morning. We left and headed home to rest up for race day.
We showed up the next morning to race and, honestly, I hadn't given much thought to a real positive outcome for a rookie three-year-old. I went to the upstairs vendor areas while my wife went to the racing area. A couple hours later, my wife finds me, and Natalee is beaming from ear to ear. They both try to explain at the same time that she got second place in her division, and we were to come back that night (late, of course) so she could get an award. Awesome!! We tooled around for a bit longer and headed home to give the race girl a much-needed nap, as it was going to be a long night for her. Wow, was it worth it. We showed up and, while we were waiting in line to get in, we met Shirley Muldowney, Wayne Scott of "Wayne's Garage," and many great collectors. As we're ready to move the line forward, here comes HWC Chris with the silly string. Scared Natalee half to death, noise, silly string everywhere, a bit too much for the three-year-old. HWC Chris noticed and stopped real quick to give her a little encouragement that everything was going to be okay and, after a high-five, smiles were back on and it was game on.
The gentleman who gave us the Stocker found us, and we all sat at the same table. Everything settled down and awards began. I had no idea some of the talent in the room with customizers, etc. That was cool to see. Racing awards then came, and Natalee was presented her medal on stage, a bit shy but all smiles inside. Honestly, I thought it would be just a little piece of paper or a generic ribbon or something, but it's a real medal -- very cool. She is so proud! We finished up the awards, hung around for a while afterwards with many people congratulating her, and then headed home.
Later that week, we were at a local toy retailer and Natalee spotted a Hot Wheels racing suit with goggles. She had to have it, telling me "Daddy, I need that, cause I race cars now." Who can pass that up? She wears that thing around and talks about her race car career to this day. In the meantime, my wife is slowly amassing a variety of racing Hot Wheels, getting ready for the next opportunity to race...
I got to be the mystery man in this story, but it just shows a little generosity can make a big ripple. I'm happy just to read it!