Newfound passion drives student to organize Woodbury Auto Show
The second Woodbury Auto Show is set for Saturday, July 6, after an impressive debut earlier this summer. And its organizer isn't even old enough to drive.
Wesley Ross, a rising sophomore, started the Woodbury High School Auto Enthusiast Club this past school year. As the club's president, he organized the first Woodbury Auto Show, which took place May 25. With little more than a week to put the show together, it was attended by more than 600 people, about 120 of them students, Ross said. Cars and motorcycles, 237 of them, filled the school's parking lot.
The quick turnaround was aided by local car clubs, including CarQueenz, a Minnesota-based all-female auto enthusiast group. Founder Shelly Podany said the high school club took direction well and "was very appreciative to us queenz."
"We love helping groups," Podany said. "Once I heard people doubting the show would be a success we just had to get involved and help."
Ross's passion for cars has been a whirlwind. It began when he was on the way home from school less than six months ago and a Ford Mustang sped past his school bus.
"It wasn't the car itself, but it was just the look of the guy in the driver's seat and just how happy he looked," Ross said. "He had the top down, you know, sun in his eyes, wind in his hair, and I guess just looking at (him) and seeing the joy that came from this car is kind of what sparked it for me."
By organizing an auto show, Ross saw an opportunity to promote the community while also raising money for Woodbury High School's automotive program. The school currently offers a few automotive courses, but Ross said he wants to use money raised from the shows to start an afterschool program to teach teenagers useful auto-related skills.
As he nears driving age, Ross has been thinking about the kind of car he'd like to own. It wouldn't just be for himself, either, but for the whole club to work on. Right now, the top contenders include a classic Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro.
"I didn't want to buy anything new and cool — I wanted to buy something old that needed some love," he said.
Though the club is still small, the success of the first show brought in new members, Ross said. He has big goals for the show and hopes for it to someday reach the status of shows hosted by clubs like Minnesota Cars and Coffee, an auto enthusiast group with shows on the first Saturday of each month at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake.
As far as what types of vehicles are welcome, the Woodbury High School Auto Enthusiast Club is open to everything.
"We're an all-makes, all-models (show)," Ross said. "No matter if it has four wheels, two wheels, no wheels — if it's something that drives your passion in the automotive area and you want to show the world, then bring it out and we'll love to have it there."
Ross said the club hopes to host two or three more shows this summer after the July 6 event.
If you go...
What: Woodbury Auto Show
Where: Woodbury High School, 2665 Woodlane Drive
When: 3-7 p.m. July 6
Cost: $10 per vehicle spot upon arrival, free for spectators