Home » Good Times Rolled Out at Museum


Wheels Museum

4 days 8 hours ago


Wheels Museum

1 week 23 hours ago

When this happens, it's usually because the owner only shared

Good Times Rolled Out at Museum

By Charlotte Balcomb Lane
Albuquerque Journal

Friday, October 12, 2001
Between “Miss Lilly,” a pistol-packing pooch, and a brisk live auction, this year’s WHEELS Museum benefit was the most fun — and most profitable — gala yet for the group hoping to build a transportation museum and exposition center in Downtown.

The event Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque raised an estimated $55,000 for the WHEELS Museum. It is one of the attractions planned for the abandoned Santa Fe Railroad yards Downtown.

Leba Freed, president of the WHEELS Museum board of directors and the indefatigable spark behind the project, all but crowed with delight over the earnings.

“We’re so excited. For us paupers, this is a lot of money,” she said.

It was the third year the Friends of WHEELS have staged a fund-raising gala and the event seems to be gathering steam. More than 500 people attended the “anything but black tie” party that was chaired by Sandy Ginsberg, secretary of the board of directors.

Local performers, dressed in Old West attire and train paraphernalia, got guests in the mood. Code of the West, a living theater group, walked through the audience with Miss Lilly, who “begged” for bucks with her owner, Linda R. Young.

Dave Saunders, a rancher who plays the Old West hero Red Ryder, was on hand to reminisce about Albuquerque’s days of yore.

But the big attraction of the evening was a spirited live auction, featuring a number of unusual items, including a private moonlight train ride and a BB gun autographed by Saunders.

A pair of snowmobile jackets were donated and modeled by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser and his wife, Lisa Unser.

The one Lisa wore was new, but the one Bobby wore was previously worn in 1998 by Unser’s snowmobile companion, Robert Gayton, during an incident when the pair were lost for two days in a blizzard in northern New Mexico. Later, Unser was fined $75 for trespassing on Forest Service wilderness while lost.

Used or not, the jacket fetched an impressive $400.

“We had a ball,” Unser said later, speaking of the WHEELS party.

“I think the WHEELS Museum is one of the nicest things that could happen to Downtown Albuquerque.”

Making merry among the guests were Rep. Heather Wilson, her husband Jay Hone, and the couple’s two red-haired children, Josh and Caitlin Hone. Wilson has been a big supporter of the project.


New Lego exhibit at the Wheels Museum. View The New Mexico Lego Users Group has
partnered with WHEELS to have a beautiful Lego Train layout for children of all ages to enjoy. The exhibit will vary from season to season and we invite you to come see this new Lego train exhibit.

Do you have a few hours each month to help the Wheels Museum? Volunteers are needed so the Museum can be open more; run the model railroad trains, also help needed with events, marketing, fund raising. Call Leba Freed at (505) 243-6269.

Febuary 16, 11 am. Bob Bovee Long Steel Rails concert. This program for all ages presents songs and stories about the famous trains, rail workers, hobos, train wrecks and train robbers. Call or email Leba Freed for reservations at (505) 243-6269 or leba4@aol.com.

March 17, Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at WHEELS. Movie, tours, train ride and food celebration.

April 1, 1 pm. Doug Figgs and Badger. Back by popular demand. By reservations only (505) 243- 6269. Doug’s show was sold out last year, so call early! Donation: $10.00.

April 8, 11 am. “Historic Albuquerque” Ronn Perea will present old Albuquerque anecdotes including delightful stories about our beloved Alvarado Hotel and the politicians, actors and entertainers who stayed there. This is a free event but, of course, donations are always appreciated.

April 22, Wheels Museum Day trip to Rancho De Chimayo Restaurante, El Santuario de Chimayo and the Santa Fe Plaza. Call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for more information. The museum is a 501C3 non-profit community organization whose mission is to create a transportation museum at the downtown Albuquerque Steam Locomotive Repair Shops.

May 19-May 23, Train trip to the Grand Canyon. Only a few spaces left.Scheduled through Amtrak Vacations, call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for reservations and more information.