It has been a long, hard winter and spring is shaping up to be equally hellacious, with many fearing that we'll soon be trading in our shovels for sandbags.
But fear not, there's a rolling reprieve running through town this weekend, Piston Ring's 39th annual World of Wheels. Leave your troubles at the door of the Winnipeg Convention Centre and witness what promises to be a great weekend of showing and shining.
Just about every corner of the automotive hobby will be represented, including street rods, customs, muscle cars, sport compacts, trucks, restored classics, race cars and motorcycles. New trends will emerge, camaraderie will run rampant and amazing cars will shine under the bright lights.
Throughout the winter, local backyard garages and custom shops that cater to gearheads have been buzzing with activity preparing a cavalcade of classic and special-interest vehicles in anticipation of the big show. If you're among the anticipated 40,000 spectators who will pack the convention centre throughout the weekend, you can expect to lay eyes on a great variety of local cars and a killer lineup of vehicles from out of town.
More than 150 show cars will compete for prizes and points as part of the International Show Car Association series, together with displays by local car clubs and vendor booths from more than 50 automotive-related businesses that cater to the hobby.
Exhibit highlights this year will include Drag City Canada, a selection of nostalgic race cars; the Muscle Car Café, a nifty Surf City-themed display with a classic lineup of woodies and station wagons; the Goat Farm, an exhibit showcasing the legendary Pontiac GTO; and three generations of the iconic Batmobile, including the original 1966 version.
In addition to all the amazing cars and trucks, the CycleRama show, presented by Lone Star Harley-Davidson, will also be running hot on the second floor. You'll be able to eyeball the latest motorcycles and ATVs, as well as gear and accessories and a sweet lineup of classic and custom motorcycles.
New this year will be a motorcycle daredevil demonstration set up in the loading-dock area that promises to be a rolling riot. CycleRama will also host the Miss World of Wheels pageant on Saturday night at 8 p.m.
If it weren't for the World of Wheels, there's a good chance many local winter projects would likely never get finished. Setting a deadline to have a vehicle ready in time for the show is a great catalyst to help folks burn the midnight oil and see their project through to completion.
Case in point: Cheryl Sinclair and Sheldon Root, who both spent the Easter weekend putting the finishing touches on their cars.
Root, owner of Motion Performance, an automotive specialty shop on Main Street, is a car-show veteran who will be displaying his super-fast Chevy II. Sinclair, on the other hand, is a newbie -- her vintage Chevelle has been primped to perfection with a new paint job, a fresh interior and a rebuilt big-block engine.
"I am really excited about having my car in the show," Sinclair said. "I truly see now just how much is involved to get a car ready."
She was admittedly cutting things a bit close. Mere days before the show, the car's grille still had to be installed and it required at least a few more hours of final details. "It's nerve-racking, but I'm confident we will get the car done just in time."
In addition to all the cars, there will also be a foursome of stars.
Dennis Gage, inventor of Pringles chips and the host of popular TV show My Classic Car will appear tonight at the Pony Corral booth. Time sure does fly -- the first time I met Gage was way back in 2003. In addition to being a really nice guy, his infinite knowledge of all things automotive is truly amazing.
On Saturday, actor Christopher Douglas Reed, who plays Filthy Phil on the hit biker drama Sons of Anarchy, will appear along with Davis Cleveland, who plays Flynn Jones on Disney's Shake it Up. Wrestler Adam Copeland, known in the ring as Edge, will appear on Sunday.
Ultimately, though, when the big show rolls through town, the cars are the stars. See you there!
Piston Ring's World of Wheels
Winnipeg Convention Centre, 374 York Ave.
Friday: 3 p.m.-10 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Adults, $15.50 includes GST and $1.50 Ticketmaster fee, Children (6-12), $6, includes GST and $1 Ticketmaster fee. Children under 5, Free.
Dennis Gage, Friday, 5-9 p.m.
Christopher Douglas Reed, Saturday, 1-4 p.m. and 6-8p.m.
Davis Cleveland, Saturday, 1-4 p.m. and 6 -8p.m
Adam Copeland, noon-3p.m., Sunday.