The committee will meet next at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, February 9, at the East Hall Winnemucca Convention Center.
The committee will meet next at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, February 9, at the East Hall Winnemucca Convention Center.
WINNEMUCCA —Winnemucca Nevada’s longtime classic car show is getting an extreme makeover.

“Fifties Fever” gathered hundreds of car enthusiasts to this high-desert community each July from 1992 through 2016.

Now, the ‘50s inspired event will turn its fuzzy dice in for “Winnemucca Wheels,” which organizers hope will broaden the event’s appeal—and its participant base.

“For 24 years, we’ve had a great run with ‘Fifties Fever,’” said Winnemucca Convention & Visitors Authority Director Kim Petersen. “We’ve enjoyed a loyal following and a solid event.”

Petersen said a steady decline in the number of event participants over the past decade, however, resulted in a sort of “wake-up” call this year from both internal staff and local enthusiasts.

“We all want a successful show—something that will put Winnemucca on the map,” said Petersen, “and I think our communal belief is that we don’t have to settle for what we have always done; we can make this bigger and better and not only bring back our regular participants, but a lot larger crowd as well.”

“Winnemucca Wheels” has been scheduled for Friday through Sunday, July 14-16, 2017. The event is open to all cars, makes and models and includes 30-plus car classes.

The weekend’s centerpiece will be a car show on Saturday, July 15, tentatively planned for Winnemucca Boulevard from Melarkey Street to Baud Street.

A pancake breakfast will hopefully kick things off on Saturday. A Poker Run has been scheduled following the car show, while a Poker Walk will take place earlier in the day.

Organizers also hope a partnership with the Northern Nevada Racing Association will result in a drag racing or other competitive event over the weekend; other participant-friendly events could also take part.

But Petersen said before any final plans are laid, the group is looking for more committee members to share even more ideas.

“This event has seen a steady decline in attendance over the years and our local car enthusiasts probably have some good ideas why—and what we can do now to reverse that trend,” said Petersen.

Petersen said many suggestions have already come as a result of this new effort, including changes to the event name, date, logo, car classes, judging procedures and more.

“But we want even more,” he said, “especially from those with previous car show experience.”

Winnemucca Wheels Committee Chairman and Winnemucca Convention & Visitors Authority Board Member Jim Billingsley said the group’s meetings have been filled with optimism.

“There is definitely a strong sense of union because everybody is striving toward the same goal,” he said.

Billingsley said the group is also applying that sense of union to coordinate with other events’ schedules rather than attempt to compete.

Billingsley said the event will include something for everyone, from music, shopping and vendors to kids’ games, sidewalk sales and more.

The group is also looking to use the event to honor Winnemucca’s 100 years as an incorporated city.

“We are proud of our community,” said Billingsley, “and certainly our event attendees will have some fun sharing that celebration with us.”

The committee will meet next at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, February 9, at the East Hall Winnemucca Convention Center.

“We’d really like to make this show one of the best in northern Nevada,” said Billingsley. “We hope more car enthusiasts will feel the same way and decide to join us.”

For more information, for questions or to share suggestions, please call Billingsley at (775) 304-3003 or call the Winnemucca Convention & Visitors Authority at (775) 623-5071.