TAK­ING IT ALL IN AT SEMA 2018

WHAT WE’RE UP TO THIS YEAR

Diesel World - - Contents -

The Show is the au­to­mo­tive af­ter­mar­ket’s yearly trade show that takes place in Las Ve­gas ev­ery Novem­ber/ late Oc­to­ber. It’s the largest show the af­ter­mar­ket has and straight-up dwarfs any car show you’ve ever been to. It’s the sec­ond largest con­ven­tion Ve­gas hosts each year (based off of last year’s num­bers it’s ri­valed only by CES, the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show), draw­ing over 160K at­ten­dees and 2,400 ex­hibitors. Once a year the en­tire town is taken over by auto in­dus­try peo­ple of all kinds. Driv­ing in the city dur­ing the event is tough be­cause ev­ery­where you look there’s some over-the-top cus­tom ve­hi­cle. Parts-wise, if it ex­ists in the af­ter­mar­ket, it’s here. Most com­pa­nies re­veal their new prod­ucts for the fol­low­ing year here as well. It’s im­por­tant to note that this show is closed to the gen­eral pub­lic. Only peo­ple who work in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try are al­lowed to at­tend (so stick with us, we’ll show you all the cool stuff).

When I started in this in­dus­try, at­tend­ing my first SEMA 18 years ago, I re­mem­ber how in awe I was of ev­ery­thing once I walked through the con­ven­tion cen­ter doors for the first time. There’s just so much to see, and as an 18-year-old en­thu­si­ast fresh into a new job turn­ing wrenches at a small truck ac­ces­sory shop, I didn’t know where to start. But I just had to see it all. Now here’s the prob­lem with that idea: If you do the math, 2,400 booths to see with four nine­hour days to make it hap­pen, if you spent 5 min­utes at each booth from the mo­ment the doors opened on the first day to the sec­ond they closed on the last, you’d only be able to see a fifth of the show. Yeah, it’s that mas­sive.

The first five years or so that I at­tended were over­whelm­ing. So many peo­ple to see, so many parts to check out, and I still wanted to see it all and tried as hard as I could each year to no avail. Ob­vi­ously, I hadn’t done the afore­men­tioned “math.” At some point I re­al­ized that there was sim­ply no way to see ev­ery­thing, and once that hap­pened, I slowed down a bit and got a lit­tle more me­thod­i­cal with my ap­proach. Nowa­days my time at the show is spent with three straight days of meet­ings with parts man­u­fac­tur­ers, one ev­ery 45 min­utes (which is why ev­ery year con­trib­u­tor Ja­son Sands cov­ers the show for us since I just can’t pull it off with that sched­ule). A few years ago I was do­ing four straight days of meet­ings and quickly re­al­ized I needed a day to just take the show in, to wan­der around and see what’s hot, to see what I missed in all those meet­ings. This year I’m do­ing it a bit dif­fer­ently; this year I’ve got two free days (yes!!). On those days I’ll be walk­ing around tak­ing the show in while do­ing live feeds on our In­sta­gram and Face­book ac­counts. I’ll also be the guest host for the Diesel Pod­cast, so I’ll be talk­ing with in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, rac­ers and the like for the pod­cast. You can check out those pod­casts on our web­site (Diesel­world­mag.com). Look for the “Diesel Pod­cast” link at the top or in the menu for mo­bile. The pod­cast can also be found on itunes, Soundcloud, and many other like host­ing sites.

Once the show is over, I and around eight of our reg­u­lar contributors (writ­ers and pho­tog­ra­phers) head to a se­cret lo­ca­tion for early-morn­ing pho­to­shoots. The first year I did this we had around 20 trucks show up. Last year? Forty-seven. It re­ally is an amaz­ing time. All those SEMA builds out in the mid­dle of the desert do­ing donuts, drift­ing, just show­ing off for the cam­era. It’s a car or truck en­thu­si­ast’s dream. This year we’re do­ing it a bit dif­fer­ently. We’re only invit­ing 15 trucks, es­sen­tially the best of “the-best-of-thebest.” And we’re do­ing video in­ter­views, pod­casts, and more with ev­ery one of them. After all, Diesel World is more than just the mag­a­zine. And re­mem­ber, there’s so much more on Diesel­world­mag.com. It’s up­dated ev­ery sin­gle day. And, since by the time you read this it may be al­ready be after, or dur­ing, the show, head to our so­cial me­dia pages (@Diesel­world­mag for IG or Face­book) to see all the good stuff from SEMA 2018. If you’re not into the web stuff (heck, even if you are), don’t worry. Next month we’ll have spe­cial print-only SEMA show cov­er­age.

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