Wheels and Wings opens with success in Gypsum | VailDaily.com

Wheels and Wings opens with success in Gypsum

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
CVR Wheels and Wings DT 9-11-10

VAIL, Colorado – Turns out there’s a major underground car culture right here in the Vail Valley, and the inaugural Wheels and Wings Show proves it.

Wheels and Wings took over the Vail Valley Jet Center Saturday, with more than 1,000 guests perusing aisles of more than 115 cars from classics to muscle cars to European sports cars.

Airplanes, military helicopters and jets were also on display around the perimeter of the car show, giving spectators a full day’s worth of motorized machinery to look at.

The event was the vision of Doug Landin, chairman of the board of Vail Automotive Classic and the co-founder of the group. Landin and about seven other locals from the valley meet on Sundays twice a month for what they call “Cars and Coffee,” a group created by Wheels and Wings co-founder and organizer Don Welch.

They talk about cars, cars and more cars, and last year the group decided to work on getting a big show together locally.

Landin sent out an e-mail asking the rest of the group to help take their local car show to another level. The e-mail’s subject line said, “Am I crazy?”

Apparently he wasn’t crazy, as the first-time event drew in people from all over Colorado, as well as out-of-state. The $5 admission fee proceeds are all going to charities – Jack’s Place, which provides accommodations for Shaw Regional Cancer Center patients and their caregivers, and Angels in Action, an annual 5K family fun run/walk in Avon that raises money for the Crissa Lea Swinford Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“Our long-term goal is to make this a world-class event appropriate for the Vail Valley,” Landin said. “We think initially we’ve hit a home run.”

The valley is the perfect place for a top quality car show, said David Campbell, one of Wheels and Wings’ directors and a member of Vail Automotive Classic.

“We’re living in the greatest resort area in the world with Vail and Beaver Creek, so why don’t we have a great car show?” Campbell said.

Campbell said that while there are some nice car shows in Colorado, high level shows tend to be on the East and West Coasts. The Vail Automotive Classic is trying to fill that void, Campbell said.

“We were thinking if we could get 100 cars, it would be a great day,” Campbell said. “We’ve already got all these ideas for next year.”

Word spread quickly that the show was happening, and people like Bob Zeltman, of West Vail, were thrilled to hear about it.

Zeltman just heard about Cars and Coffee this summer and was surprised to find such a loyal car culture right here in the valley. Zeltman entered his 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider into the show – a car he rebuilt and restored in his garage for more than 2 years.

It’s the first time he’s ever entered a car into a show, and he was more than pleased with the caliber of the show and the other cars there.

Bob Rowley, of Eagle, was reading the Vail Daily on Friday at his chiropractor’s office in Avon when he saw information about Wheels and Wings. He called the contact number listed in the article and asked if it was too late to enter his 1967 Lola – race car driver Dan Gurney’s former 1967 Lola – into the show.

Landin told him to bring it on over. The car was at the Jet Center by Friday evening.

Landin said auto shows are like a sporting event for people who like automobiles, and with so many pristine cars sitting in garages all over the valley, Wheels and Wings was already on the level of a professional sporting event.

“We don’t want to be the biggest show, we want to be the best,” Landin said. “This is setting the table for the future.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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