15,000 STRONG: Hill City Man’s 30-Year-Old Hot Wheels Collecting Tradition Comes to an End

HILL CITY, SD – Upon entering the Kulbel House in Hill City, you’ll find plenty of history.

Whether it’s a tomahawk head or a Michael Jackson touring jacket, this story stands out.

But yet another thing you will find is Hot Wheels, which has its own history.

Dan Kulbel’s collection fills more than one room and is estimated at around 15,000.

This collection has overflowed into what he calls his “toy box”.

“It’s a hobby that’s gotten out of hand,” Kulbel joked.

He started collecting his treasure about 32 years ago and it developed into a treasure that he has passed on over the years.

“The kids would come (over the years),” Kulbel said. “(We would tell them) You better have your pockets full when you go.”

But now he has to let go of most of his treasure. He and his wife Deb move to Florida to be closer to his eldest daughter and two grandchildren. An auction that ends on Saturday will send all but one of the boxes in its inventory nationwide and around the world.

Yes, he will 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 has the front wheels spinning back and forth with the lever inside,” Kulbel said.

But as he says goodbye to what will be an empty room, he finds himself full of what she and the cars brought him.

“I’ll just look at it and say, ‘It’s a memory,'” Kulbel said. “Yeah, that’s it.”