Midas of Cheyenne employees and several local businesses partner to turn ordinary vehicles into extraordinary eye-candy, all for a good cause.
Founded in 2013 by Midas co-owner Nick Dodgson, Wheels for Charity has raised more than $300,000 for local charities. The program customizes and restores vintage cars, raffles off the completed vehicles and gives all the funds raised to local nonprofits. Dodgson calls himself more of the Wheels for Charity mascot and refuses to take credit for the program.
“A common misconception is that we make money on the projects, but we don’t,” Dodgson said. “Even Halladay Motors donates the paint and bodywork. One hundred percent of the ticket sales go to the selected charities.”
Dodgson likes the challenge of transforming the ordinary, or in the case of this year’s project, a broken-down, rusted 1942 Ford. The classic was found in pieces outside of Cheyenne and donated by Bryce Blanton, owner of Tom the Tireman.
Underneath the original steel body, the classic Coupe now has a fuel-injected V8 engine, custom chassis, new transmission, front suspension and disc brakes, and a rear axle with 4.10 gears.
The Midas team, along with other local businesses, have spent more than 3,000 hours restoring the Coupe. The transformation took about two years.
Midas senior technician Chris Webster said spending his days off fixing the car is well worth it, and he feels a great sense of accomplishment. “I believe in the causes that we do this for, especially supporting efforts against domestic violence,” he added.
Extra flair on this bright purple Coupe includes tiny purple lights, providing an extra glow to its undercarriage, wheels and dash. Its headlights also glow a multitude of colors, including purple, all controlled by a phone app. In addition to more than two years of work, Webster and Bruce Mcallister, the master Midas technician, spent their time off for a solid month in the shop finalizing the details, particularly on the interior, before the big reveal.
Bruce Mcallister explained his involvement this way: “I like working on cars, and I like helping people even more.”
Once the build is complete, the vehicle is raffled off, and all proceeds from the raffle tickets are donated to three local nonprofits. This year’s nonprofits are Safehouse Services, Wyoming Business Advocates and K9s for Mobility.
Wheels for Charity has been a great opportunity to get out in the community and educate people about K9s 4 Mobility assistance dogs and how they make a difference in the lives of people who have a physical disability, said Michelle Woerner, CEO of K9s 4 Mobility. All donations help K9s 4 Mobility train and place these specifically trained dogs with someone who wants to become more independent, she added.
Dale Steenbergen, president and CEO of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, called the program a success. “I am humbled by the Wheels for Charity project. Year after year, thousands of man hours are donated, hundreds of thousands of dollars are donated to wonderful causes in our community.”
The charities rotate every couple of years, and are chosen by the entire Midas team. The program has also helped Habitat for Humanity, Needs Inc., the Cheyenne Family YMCA, and programs at the Chamber like the Military Affairs Committee and the Wyoming Wranglers.
Safehouse will always be one of the recipients, because that is why Midas started this program. “One of my technicians tragically lost a stepdaughter to domestic violence back in 2013,” Dodgson explained. “Obviously, the whole store was deeply affected by this, and we wanted to raise awareness and funds.”
Through the previous vehicle raffles, Safehouse has received $88,000 that has been used for the shelter and the residents. Safehouse is honored that Wheels for Charity has chosen it to be a recipient of this amazing fundraiser, said Carla Thurin, Safehouse Services executive director.
The program is more about raising awareness than funds, Dodgson explained.
“The vehicle is the eye-candy that starts the conversation with the nonprofit sitting behind the table. Hopefully, by the time the conversation ends, you are buying a $25 ticket to support their work. The chance of winning a cool car is second.”
The winner of the Wheels for Charity raffle will be pulled during the ball drop ceremony on New Years Eve in the Depot Plaza. Less than two weeks remain to purchase a ticket and support local charities! Get yours today.