If you’ve never been to the SEMA Show, I hate to tell you this, but you really are missing out. It is truly the greatest automotive show on Earth. Every year at the end of October or beginning of November, the SEMA show displays amazing vehicle builds and thousands of new parts. It is the show to display your vehicle at, and the one every company strives to have new products ready in time for.
Starting in 1963, the Speed Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (changed to the Specialty Equipment Market Association less than a decade later) was developed to unite, protect, and help automotive aftermarket part makers. In 1967, they had their first SEMA show out of the Dodger’s Stadium in Los Angeles, with just under 100 manufacturers displaying their parts. Now, with around 6,400 companies belonging to SEMA, the organization has become not only a political powerhouse, but the shield that protects much of the automotive aftermarket from potential threat. I doubt the founding members of SEMA ever envisioned what a goliath their organization would turn into decades later, but they had the foresight to set it up with a council and objectives that would be able to steer the industry in the correct direction, no matter how many joined SEMA. The show itself draws well over a hundred thousand people every year, and is steadily increasing in size. More than 2,300 exhibitors displayed at the 2013 event.
Unfortunately, the SEMA show is a trade show with vendors, buyers, and media being the parties in attendance. Unless you’re in the automotive aftermarket, you’re going to have a tough time trying to run past the security guards at the entrance. For those of you working in the auto industry who have never been to SEMA, you’re missing out. Seize the opportunity!
And if you happen to be in Vegas on a SEMA Friday, be sure not to miss the SEMA Cruise taking place directly in front of the Convention Center, right after the show ends. Every (running) vehicle that was in the show gets in line and cruises through the streets of the Las Vegas Convention Center and onto Paradise Blvd. Thousands of people line the streets to see the incredible creations in action, and I can guarantee you’ll never see a more wild, lavish, and amazing collection of cars motoring down the road—ever.
If you’re a true gearhead, car nut, truck junkie, or whatever, SEMA is something you have to see for yourself. No amount of media coverage will do it justice.