It’s nice to see people are still playing with toys these days. With screens becoming a primary source of both information and entertainment, the toy industry definitely took a hit, with the biggest store dedicated to their existence dying as a result of a leverage buyout. It’s also good to see treadmills getting use. I’m a runner, and I encourage people to get their miles outside, but hey, you spend 2000 dollars on that thing you might as well put it to good use.
The application of use for both of these objects comes together in an unorthodox synthesis, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. This is the most lateral thinking I’ve ever seen given to Hot Wheels cars, and truly the mark of genius that sets Steve Wilkins apart from many of the men in his social class.
Originally his Youtube channel was used as a way of advertising houses and apartments that his real estate agency was listing, and the odd Fortnite montage, presumably from his son. There were a couple of Hot Wheels races on there, however the concept had yet to be ironed out, with not enough cars to make things entertaining, and a very rushed presentation. This is the type of Youtube channel that used to be all over the place in the site’s original days, before the partner program, before patreons, and before videos even had outros.
That all changed about a year ago when Steve uploaded the Michigan 400 – Treadmill Series Race #1. Lined up just like stock cars at the Daytona International Speedway was a colorful array of toy cars on the concrete black surface of his treadmill. Logos and promotional material for Steve’s agency were also placed innocuously on the borders. After his “race analyst” son announced the numbers for each car, the treadmill started rolling, and what followed was a high speed battle royal, with Steve’s emphatic commentary narrating the visible chaos, with tactful comments about the sponsors on each car.
This is almost like last year when people had a micro-obsession with marble racing, back when all the sports were still quarantined. Audiences first came to it for novelties sake, but then stayed longer than they cared to admit, because for whatever reason, toy races were really easy to get invested in.
The mixture of treadmills and toy cars is almost like sriracha and mayonaise. Sure it sounds weird, but it works in ways most people never thought it would.
Since then, Steve had branched out into doing demolition derby style races, where the last car standing wins, but also maintains more traditional races. The content doesn’t change much at all, but asking for sports style videos to change is pointless. Nobody comes out of an NHL season and goes, “yeah I hope they play field hockey next year.”
What Steve provides is a consistently entertaining series of videos that he’s clearly passionate about. He’s even got imitators in the form of Treadmill Championship Racing. Steve has even shown more passion as time has gone on, removing any advertising for his agency and instead decorating the treadmill with a checker patter, and plastering pictures of legendary race cars all over the walls.
Just like Buff Correll, Steve Wilkins has a found a way to do something he very much loves, a fanbase that will appreciate it, and a way to produce content that follows a similar structure, but ultimately unique.