Birmingham is known as “The Magic City” and it lived up to that reputation with this year’s 40th annual O’Reilly World of Wheels. Over 325 cars, trucks and bikes filled two levels and all three exhibit halls of the spectacular Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. This event has always drawn the most outstanding cars from the local area and some of the best national show cars as well. This year was no different. The displays and vehicles in the show ran the gamut from Steve Jones’ 1969 Chevy Camaro Z28, winner of BEST RESTORED award, to Buddy Schulz’s tricked out 2010 South Central Chopper, winner of the BEST BIKE award. These vehicles, along with all the other vehicles on display created the most awesome show the south has ever seen.
The list of feature attractions included Billy the Exterminator, Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” star Nathan Kress, as well as Greg McElroy, Quarterback of the 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide SEC National Championship Team and Kodi Burns, Wide Receiver for the 2010 Auburn Tigers SEC National Championship Team. From “Dukes of Hazzard”, John Schneider was at the show all weekend, as were Legends of Wrestling Ted DiBiase and Mike Jones; aka “Million Dollar Man” and “Virgil”. Making her debut appearance was Nadia: Miss World of Wheels 2011 and the Miss World of Wheels Calendar Girls. Also along for the ride were returning favorites: the “On the Edge” Bicycle Stunt Team.
While the feature attractions kept the show hopping the competition kept the judges jumping! After a long weekend of looking, reviewing and discussing, BEST STREET MACHINE COMP went to Joe Brown’s 1967 Ford Mustang. Harry Smith took BEST TRUCK with his 1983 Chevy S10 Blazer, BEST ROD went to Tammy Ray and her 1933 Ford Phaeton “Gold Digger” and BEST CUSTOM was awarded to Mike George and his 1969 Chevy Camaro.
The Birmingham show was very fortunate this year to have some great club displays. Magic City Mustangs won BEST CLUB AWARD for their amazing fully enclosed display, and the Mid Alabama Corvette Club and Southern Stang Mustang Club won OUTSTANDING CLUB AWARDS with their sleek, professional displays.
Special Awards presented included the Alabama Gold Cup Award to Gary Brown and his 1934 Ford Coupe for the Best First Time Shown from Alabama, the John Myers Memorial Award to Buddy Schulz and his 2006 SCC Pro Street Chopper for the Best First Time Shown Motorcycle and the Steve Tansy Founders Award went to Tammy Ray and her 1933 Ford Phaeton for the Best First Time Shown.
Each year at the Birmingham show special plaques are placed in displays on Saturday afternoon to recognize the top five vehicles competing for the Steve Tansy award for the Best First Time Shown vehicle and includes a $2,000.00 purse. Excitement builds as a delegation of judges and show staff marches through the show and delivers these special “Fantastic 5” Plaques to the displays of the winners. This year’s Fantastic Five were:
Tammy Ray 1933 Ford Phaeton
Joe Brown 1967 Ford Mustang
Phillip Fairchild 1955 Chevy Truck
Jim Jackson 1957 Chevy Bel Aire
Gary Brown 1934 Ford Coupe
This award ultimately went to Tammy Ray.
This same delegation also delivered the “Bikers Best 5” Plaques to:
Buddy Schulz 2010 SCC Pro Street Chopper
Irvin Sidney 2005 Ironhorse Chopper
Dan Patrone 2001 Harley Davidson Fatboy
Mark Crowe 1983 Yamaha Venture
Lamar Chasteen 1936 Simplex
These plaques recognize the top contenders for the John Myers Award and a $1,000.00 purse for the Best First Time Shown Bike in Birmingham. Buddy Schulz came out on top in this competition.
The Birmingham show recognizes many more vehicles with awards including The People’s Choice Award: voted on by the show’s spectators throughout the weekend. This year’s People’s Choice went to Jim Jackson with a 1957 Chevy. The Long Distance Award went to Bill Kirkland who brought his beautiful 1955 Chevy 2 Door Sedan. Various entities from within the car show industry award special awards such as the Ford Muscle Award which went to Kenneth Cheatwood with a 1969 Ford Fairlane, the GM Muscle Award which went to Scott Briggs and his 1955 Chevy Nomad, the Mopar Muscle Award went to Tim Holifield with a 2008 Dodge Challenger, and the Import Muscle Award which went to Tom Landry for his 1969 Volkswagon Bug. This year’s O’Reilly “Pick of the Show” went to Mark Whitlock with a 1969 Chevy Camaro.
A charity auction at the Awards Presentation on Sunday evening kept everyone entertained and all of the money from the auction went to a great cause, “Kid One Transport”. This organization transports kids and expectant Mothers who need transportation for medical treatment. The auction helped a good cause and everyone enjoyed joining in on the fun. It was a great weekend from start to finish and I hope to see everyone back next year!