SPEED, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 6, 2006–More than 10,000 people joined the residents of the small Midwestern city of Speed, Kan., (population 37) today for a day-long Hot Wheels festival to honor the rich automotive history of America’s rural highways.
“Today was a great day for Speed and for Hot Wheels,” said Geoff Walker, vice president of Wheels Marketing, Mattel Brands. “The turnout today exceeded expectations and demonstrated America’s passion for the ever-growing car culture which Hot Wheels is proud to be a part.”
The event garnered interest from beyond the local communities with more than 10,000 people from throughout the country organizing caravans that traveled to Speed for the celebration. The caravans originated from six regions in the United States with members coming from as far away as Vancouver, Wash., and Pennsylvania.
In honor of Hot Wheels, two intersecting streets in Speed were temporarily renamed Power Drive and Performance Boulevard, which set the tone for the festivities. The festival kicked off with a parade led by the Deora II, a life-size Hot Wheels vehicle created as an homage to the groundbreaking and original spirit of Hot Wheels cars. Following, at the official welcome ceremony, Mayor of Speed Denise Lyon proclaimed it to be Hot Wheels Day in Speed and presented Geoff Walker with keys to the city. Walker surprised attendees with a gift to the city, a handcrafted “Welcome to Speed” sign.
“Hot Wheels has put Speed on the map,” said Mayor Lyon. “This celebration is one that will go down in our city’s history and we are so proud to have been able to host it.”
The celebration continued with local entertainment and activity booths for kids of all ages. A highlight of the afternoon was the automotive-themed Miss Hot Wheels pageant in which eight finalists, out of more than 30 entries, took part. The finalists competed in a series of automotive-related tasks, including matching car parts with their correct name and changing tires, as well as creating an outfit accessory out of checkered-flag material and modeling in coveralls in lieu of bathing suits. At the end of the pageant, Megan Drumbaugh of Logan, Kan., was crowned Miss Hot Wheels.
More than 400 vehicles, including the original Nash from the movie “Paper Moon,” were on display at the car and motorcycle show. The cars were on display for car enthusiasts as well as judges who announced a number of awards at the end of the day. Attendees at the festival received a commemorative 1:64-scale Hot Wheels 3-Window ’34 Ford, created especially for the event and customized with a logo sticker of the local business, Ron’s Restoration, on the rear window of the scale car.
“The people of Speed and Phillipsburg County have been great,” stated Walker. “It’s been a real local effort and their enthusiasm was key to making the event a success. From the city council to the volunteer committees, the townspeople came up with their own ideas for activities during the day, and organized and oversaw the planning. We couldn’t be more proud of the result.”