You can take the boy out of the trailer park but you can't take the trailer park out of the boy. Curtis Spleeth, West Virginia Secretary of Official Emblems, announced the naming of the "mobile home" as West Virginia's official "State Car". It joins other official emblems of the state such as the Cardinal (state bird), the Black Bear (state animal), and the Mullet (state hair style).
Spleeth made the announcement last Thursday at the openning of the 43rd Annual Charleston Manufactured Home Convention. The declaration was greeted by cheers and "yee-haws" by both convention attendees and exhibitors. Spleeth pointed out that he himself was born and raised in a mobile home outside Elkins, WV. "I look back on that double-wide and a tear just swells up in my eye. The worst day of my life was when the creek overflowed and washed the house about a mile and a half downstream because it meant I had to change schools."
Spleeth acknowledged that the whole idea of a "state car" seemed to imply that it should actually be motorized and capable of propelling itself. "While its true that you have to hitch most trailers,....er...I mean manufactured homes to a pick-up or station wagon, there are manufactured homes that have been fitted with aftermarket engines and steering wheels. My cousin Rick and his brother, Dick, made their very own Winnebago out of their house." Spleeth added that only double-wides had to have an "oversized load" escort car when taken out for a spin.
As part of the festivities, the Hixenbomb family of Big Ugly Creek were given an award for most extensive renovations of mobile housing. Family members had, beginning in 1952, begun the creation of what is thought to the largest mobile home in the world. "It started when we welded an old Airstream to my great-grandpas trailer," said Norman Ray Hixenbomb. "Once we done that, it just sort of took off." As of present, the Hixenbombs have used 43 "manufactured homes", 6 semi-trailers (from over the road trucks) ., and the bed of a 1985 Ford F-150 pick-up truck to create a complex that houses 127 family members as well as a substantial herd of goats. Their prize is a new Wood-Aire Deluxe manufactured home which they plan to install as a post-office substation. Norma Rae (Norman's wife of 18 years) explained the need for the post office trailer, "Right now we got to go all the way into Big Ugly to get our checks and food stamps. This way, we don't have to leave home at all."
Secretary Spleeth also indicated that West Virginia has only just begun adding "State Emblems". He said that folks should look for a State Turkey Call and a State Smokeless Tobacco Product.