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34th Annual Birmingham O’Reilly World of Wheels

Written by  February 28, 2005

The 34th Annual Birmingham O’Reilly World of Wheels Custom Auto Show kicked off on Friday, February 11, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Civic Center in Birmingham, Alabama, for a weekend of hot rods, race cars, custom imports, antique and classic cars, trucks, motorcycles and much more. This is the largest indoor custom car show in Birmingham, and is produced by Motorsports Productions, Inc. This event is part of the GM Performance Parts Show Car Series and is sanctioned by the International Show Car Association (ISCA). The judges are professionals, who are brought in from several different states.

Winners received plaques and cash prizes totaling $10,000, and several of the winners accumulated points which they can use to qualify for division championships, and ultimately the national championship, with cash and prizes totaling over $400,000.

Although the show kicked off on Friday for the public, it actually started early on Thursday for the vendors and those who were showing vehicles. My boyfriend, Leigh, has been adding chrome and changing things on his 2003 Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary V-Rod from day one, up until about a week before the show, so he decided to enter it. When this show first started 34 years ago, it was probably intended more for car enthusiasts, but the motorcycle interests have increased each year, and this year the bikes really made a statement.

Several of us had planned to gather early on Thursday at Showtime Kustom Paint in Trussville, Alabama, and leave from there. The owner, Steve Brasher, is a good friend of many years, and who also painted the purple flames on Leigh’s V-Rod. When we arrived, most of the guys were already there working on bikes and displays, including our friend, Jim Morris, who owns Bessie’s Cycle Barn and On Tap Sports Cafe.

There were over a dozen bikes and displays we had to get to the Civic Center, and the plan was for all of our bikes to show together, because they were all painted by, or had something on them painted by Showtime Kustom Paint. While everyone was unloading and setting up, I went to find Deborah and Sonny McLean, who have been producing the show for over 20 years. They also produce a show in Tennessee, and are both super nice people.

It was late when we left, and that was just the start of our late, no dinner nights. We decided to get a room at the Sheraton for Friday and Saturday night, which is next door to the Civic Center. They had a show special of $69 a night, which was great!. After work on Friday, Leigh went by to wipe off his bike and check on it, since it had to spend the night away from home, then came and got me and our little bulldog, Harley Jane. She loves Harleys, and goes everywhere with us, so we were pleasantly surprised that the hotel allowed dogs. The room was so nice, and the bed, with all of its pillows, made you want to take it home. There was a walkway from the Civic Center to our hotel, and having a room right next door to take a break, from time to time, and to retire to at night, was the way to go. It did feel a little strange staying in a Hotel that was only 5 minutes from the house though.

Barber Motorsports, Deep South V-Twin, Victory, Titan, Poor Boy Racing, and Dirty Mikes were represented at the show, and there was everything from a Joe Martin bike, to custom built choppers, racing bikes and mini bikes. Even our friend, Billy Carbone, and his wife from Gulf Coast Choppers were up with their beautiful, red Alabama Chopper. Full Throttle Magazine had a booth down from our space, which meant that we got to hang out with our buddy, Smiley Joe.

For entertainment, in between drooling over all the cars and bikes, you could have you photo taken and get an autograph from Lita, the WWE Women's Champion. Eric Winters, “Rex” from Days of our Lives, Courtney Hansen, from TLC's Overhaulin’, Dennise Gage, from My Classic Car and the 2005 American Dream Bikini Team were also on hand.

The 2003 Celica Jet Car built by Jesse James on the hit show, Monster Garage was also there. It's really cool looking, with a real fire flame paint job, which on the back, looks like it had gotten so hot it had started to melt.

To keep the kids entertained, State Farm sponsored the Kids World area, with Master Magician, Steve Trash, the 'On the Edge Bike Team,' Sponge Bob Square Pants and his friend, Patrick, and Scooby Doo. They also had a World of Wheels Monster Truck Bounce for the kids to take turns in.

Rock-99 and Pepsi gave away a 1975 Corvette convertible. Big #1 Motorsports and Rock-107.7 the X, gave away a 2005 Suzuki Katana Sport Bike.

There was plenty of food and drinks all around. Sunday night around 5 p.m., they started the awards ceremony, which lasted a couple of hours. I think all of us in our group, and all of our friends won something. Leigh got second place with his V-Rod, which made us very proud. It was so much fun!

It was pouring down rain by the time the show was over, so it was a scramble to get trailers in and loaded, then back out. Some of the cars and bikes had probably never seen rain before, but they all managed.

Leigh has had bikes all of his life, but I got my first one from the show. We got a little mini chopper, and no, it doesn't have a lawnmower or Weedeater motor. It's so cute! They even had a mini bike class, which we didn't see until everyone was leaving. We might have to get the mini chopper ready for it next time.

Well, that was the World of Wheels this year, so if you get the chance, make sure to check out next year’s show.

Leigh hasn't been able to ride his V-Rod for several weeks because it was being “readied” for the show, but now his favorite of four bikes is once again, ready to roll!

Well, we're off to the next adventure, and we hope to see you there.

Story and photos by Lynn Reynolds and Leigh Lilly of Birmingham, Alabama

Write-on and Ride-on!