15,000 STRONG: Hill City man’s 30-year Hot Wheels collecting tradition coming to an end
HILL CITY, S.D. — When entering the Kulbel household in Hill City, you’ll find plenty of history.
Whether it’s a tomahawk head or a mintage Michael Jackson tour jacket, that history sets itself apart.
But yet another thing you’ll find is Hot Wheels, that have a history of their own.
Dan Kulbel’s collection fills more than a room and is estimated to be about 15,000.
That collection has spilled over into what he calls his “toy box”.
“It’s a hobby that got out of hand,” Kulbel said jokingly.
He began collecting his treasure some 32 years ago and its developed in a treasure that he’s passed on as the years went by.
“Kids would come (over the years),” Kulbel said. “(We’d tell them)You’d better have your pockets are full when you left.”
But now he’s getting to let most of his treasure go. He and his wife Deb are moving to Florida to be closer to his oldest daughter and two grandchildren. An auction that concludes Saturday will send all but one box of his inventory all over the country and world.
Yes, he’ll keep a box of his favorites.
As for Dan’s favorite?
“A 1965 mustang and it’s a matchbox but it’s the only one I’ve ever seen that the front wheels turn back and forth with the lever inside,” said Kulbel.
But as he says goodbye to what will be an empty room, he’s left full with what it and the cars brought him.
“I’ll just look at it and say ‘It’s a memory’,” Kulbel said. “Yeah, that’s what it is.”