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World of Wheels wraps up for year

Mar. 07, 2011 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Every year, Mike Manis comes back from his home in Daytona, Fla., to Huntington for the annual World of Wheels at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. He doesn't show a car, but he participates each year to help his dad, Bennie Manis, with his 1955 two-door hardtop Chevy.

And what he's found about the local car buffs in the area is this: "It's like one big family," Mike Manis said. "That's the best way to describe it."

The World of Wheels, which in Manis' opinion is the best car show in West Virginia, finished up Sunday after drawing thousands of car enthusiasts from throughout the region.

Attendance was up from last year, said event founder Richard Wheeler, who put on the show with his wife, Jo, and their good friend Jerry Davis. He bought the show from the International Show Car Association 34 years ago.

"It started out as a hobby and turned into a business," he said.

But it's a business that has developed a following over the years, he said

Among the guests at this year's show were Brittany McFeley and Jesse Burns, who brought their 4-month-old daughter, Addison Burns, to her first World of Wheels car show.

Jesse Burns has been working on cars since he was 13 years old. He was looking to see if anybody was showing a 1967 Chevy Impala, because that's what he's working on himself right now.

Bob Ross was there with his fiancee and their grandkids, seeing if they could spark some interest in cars for future generations. Ross' father, Charles, had a 1930 Model A Ford pickup truck in the competition.

"We've raced for years and built race cars a hot rod street car," Ross said.

It was among 140 cars entered this year's competition.

The show was sponsored by O'Reilly Auto Parts and co-sponsored by J. Taylor Auto Collections, Cooper's Truck & Accessories and Keaton's Collision Center. It featured more than $5,000 in cash and prizes awarded for the best in rods, antiques, customs, 4x4s, motorcycles, trucks and more.

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