By Niara Stitt
Special to Ohio.com
COPLEY: When Copley High School security specialist Brad Bennett was a young boy, he loved to watch his slot cars speed down a track. Not knowing which would finish first sent a thrill through his body, and the pride he felt when one of his own crossed the finish line first hooked him for life.
With the encouragement of his brother Greg, who he raced slot cars against as a child, Bennett continued growing his collection through college. He traveled across the country and to Canada for interesting finds, and now, his childhood hobby has turned into an award-winning show.
Bennett, who created the Model Motoring Car Club in 1983, will host his second World Show from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Richfield Day’s Inn. Admission is five dollars.
“The club is [made up of] the vendors who have been supportive since the beginning,” Brad said. “I may be hosting it…but the people that come make the show.”
Bennett’s journey to slot car shows began in Findlay, Ohio, when he and his brother met other collectors and found cars from the original Aurora Thunder jets, a vintage body type that had ended production. After that discovery, he began his club.
“Collecting slot cars has always been really exciting for me,” Bennett said.
He began advertising for his club in 1986. One of the oldest vendors, Slot Car Johnnie’s, helped him make the first shows successful.
“[Brad’s show] is one of if not the most diverse slot car shows in existence,” Johnnie Clark said. “[He] runs a top-notch collectors show!”
Though the economy has taken a dip, Brad said the annual shows are still “successful and fun.”
Sunday’s World Show is the first since 2000, where Bennett found a lot of success.
Model Motoring, Inc. even created a special 1964 Pontiac GLT slot car for the event. Another manufacturer made a limited run of black Nomad cars with Brad’s logo on them.
World Show 2000 hosted numerous vendors, including Johnny Lightning, who debuted his slot car line there. Guest Mike Vitale promoted his book “The Complete Restoration & Collecting Guide to Aurora HO Slot Cars” and held a seminar on car restoration.
“It was intense. I asked him to do a presentation, and he didn’t think anyone would come,” Bennett said. “But the room was so full, you couldn’t get any more people in there,”
Bennett met enthusiasts from Germany, England, Puerto Rico, Australia and Japan at his show. It was such a hit, he has been persuaded to hold another World Show in the future.
Niara Stitt is a student at Copley High School. If you are a high school student interested in writing for any of the MyCommunities.Ohio.com websites, contact Content Publisher Deanna Stevens Ulrich at firstname.lastname@example.org