Midlands International Auto Show a torque de force

It was fortunate they didn't put the keys in the sport utility vehicle that Eva Rohrbach, 4, tried out. Eva is from Omaha.

Omaha doctor Doug Russell, a self-proclaimed “car nut,” isn't ready to add to his collection of four vehicles.

But he still could be found at the Midlands International Auto Show on Sunday, snapping a picture of his friend Greg Hamilton in a red Chevrolet Camaro.

Russell said he likes to compare the restored classic cars on display to the current vehicles. It's a good reminder of all the things that cars have going for them nowadays — better gas mileage, anti-lock brakes and other features.

“It's fun to come here and look at new vehicles,” Russell said.

The four-day auto show, sponsored by The World-Herald and the Nebraska New Car and Truck Dealers Association, was expected to draw about the same number of visitors as last year, approximately 44,000.

The annual show ran Thursday through Sunday.

Popular attractions included a 2014 Mazda6 and a Volkswagen convertible, said Tam Webb, events manager at The World-Herald. A booth about alternative energy — a first in the show's 20-year existence — also garnered a lot of attention, she said.

Vendors reported that those attending the show this year came with thoughtful, specific questions about the vehicles, Webb said.

The main attraction for children such as 7-year-old Evan Agulla was Brain Busters, which featured mazes and other puzzles.

Evan's parents, Charlie and Adrianne Agulla, said they aren't in the market for a new car, but Charlie likes to look.

The trip doubled as a school project for Evan, who had to do something 100 times to commemorate his 100th day at school. He chose to open 100 car doors. That seemed like a lot, but there were about 350 cars and hundreds of doors to open and close.

Evan and his younger brother, 5-year-old Lucas, stopped at a Nebraska State Patrol booth called Seat Belt Convincer. The boys took turns getting strapped in, riding down a gentle slope and bumping at the end.

They didn't really need a reminder to wear a seat belt.

“I always do,” Evan said.

But he added, “It was really fun.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1084, roseann.moring@owh.com

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