I started collecting in 1998. It took me a few months before I figured out that we had to be at the stores right when they opened if we wanted to get the best cars. It was pretty fun meeting other collectors and chatting about what we had been finding.
Around that time, I found out about the David's Wheels message board. It wasn't around for very long before David moved onto other interests.
Then I found out about the RTC (rec.toys.cars) message board. That was a little rough but I learned a lot about collecting.
Joe's Diecast Shack forums appeared and that was a much better place to hang out. It is a good community where collectors help each other out with information and such. There are other good forums where collectors share information and I was definitely interested in being a good participant in the hobby.
Back to 1998, I attended my first Hot Wheels Convention in California. It was over-whelming! I was exhausted walking around for a few days straight but on Saturday, they had downhill races and it looked like a lot of fun!
The next Convention was in 2000 and I wasn't going to miss the racing. I brought my family and my son was the first one of us to win a trophy. He was only 3 1/2 years old but he was so happy. For ten years straight, somebody in the Kasimoff household won a trophy. One year, all four of us took home a statue. Collecting was fun but actually getting to play and race the cars was so much more satisfying.
With it being so much fun, I did a downhill racing birthday party for my son using a bunch of old orange track. The kids had a lot of fun but I wasn't very happy that my cars kept flying off of the track. It turns out that with too many connections in the track, it increased the odds of the cars knicking the edge and flying out of the lanes.
At the next Convention in 2001, talked to a Mattel representative to see how we could get continuous rolls of track like they used on the big Convention downhill race track. He basically gave me the run-around and didn't seem like Mattel would be interested in making it available.
It was too late. I was already bitten by the downhill racing bug and if they weren't going to make the track available, I guess I would have to make my own track. It wasn't long before I had designed and patented my own 2-lane downhill racetrack and would make it available to Hot Wheels clubs across the country.
Since the kids had so much fun with the downhill racing party that I did for my son, I went ahead and branched out with the track and started doing downhill racing parties in Southern California. From there I changed the party to an activity party which was better suited for kids who just want to play.
In 2004, the popular cable television show "Mythbusters" contacted me wanting to see if I could help them with an episode. They needed help with some toy car track to do a downhill racing challenge, toy car VS real car! Of course, I wasn't going to pass up on the chance to be on such a cool show and my family got to participate as well. What a family vacation! The episode aired in 2005 and is part of the "Is Yawning Contageous" episode.
In 2006, YouTube came around. I put up a couple funny videos like pulling off my fingernail. I also ripped open a Johnny Lightning White Lightning.
I was hesitant to do any videos that revealed how I conduct my birthday party business but by 2009, I decided to do a couple track set reviews. I would do a video about once a month. I decided to increase the frequency to once every other week and eventually, once a week.
In September 2011, I decided to feature the Hot Wheels World Race Highway 35 and the Hot Wheels AcceleRacers releases into manageable video segments. I would do a different team each day and I was concerned that my view-counts would drop off because I was uploading a video every day. Surprisingly, I didn't suffer any decrease in viewership! At least 400 people watched each video! That was the beginning of challenging myself to upload a video every day and at the time of this writing, February 2013, I have 17 months straight of providing at least one video every day.
Now, I have over 15,000 subscribers, 60 million views on my channel. I was pretty excited to get 400 views back in the day but now, each video is seen by thousands of collectors world-wide.
So for 15 years now, I've had a great time in the hobby. Learning about the cars, the history. Meeting collectors from around the corner to around the globe. I have enjoyed many facets of the hobby from playing to collecting and I am very happy to support the hobby with my videos. It has been my theme for a long time. Have fun and happy collecting! Bye, bye!
- Mark Kasimoff