Posted: 02 October 2012 by Nish | Images: Semashow.com
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What do you do you when someone asks you … “how’d you like to go to SEMA this year?” My reply before Raceweb Director Saleem Nadker could finish the sentence was “when, how long and how much”. Then the Racemaster tells you to write an article before you go … Article? What’s to follow is more like the rambling of a 3 year old who just got the new Batman Action figure for his Birthday!!

If you consider yourself a car enthusiast and have no idea of what SEMA is, rather stop reading now as you won’t “feel” the rest of this article.

The SEMA Show is a trade show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). It’s a non-profit trade association founded in 1963. SEMA held its first trade show in 1967 and it has been an annual event ever since then. It‘s THE premier event which brings together manufactures and buyers within the Automotive Industry. Primarily to us South African’s, it’s a Car Show with focus on aftermarket accessories for Trade Purposes. But in reality it’s the largest Car Show in the WORLD with products featured that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort and safety of all things automobile.

Going through the Exhibitor layout I can’t but help to be in complete awe … there are close to 5000 exhibitors, from major manufacturers like Ford, Honda and GM to Class Leading Aftermarket Manufacturers like Hasport, Blitz and HKS … Even Companies like Go Pro and Meguirs are exhibiting!! But the most scary thing is this … the show is over 4 days, and everyone I know that’s been there have all said the same thing … “You Will Not See Everything in the Four Days”. Can you even imagine that!!

Every year some new product or new model seems to be making waves, this year is no exception. This year the Scion FR-S has already been predicted to be taking SEMA by storm. The Scion FR-S is basically a Toyota 8-6 badged differently in the States. I expect major engine transplants and crazy body kits at a lot of stands this year!! Other than that … we just expect to be overwhelmed. We are both excited and nervous.

Wait … Did I mention it’s held in LAS VEGAS … Sin City in the heart of the Nevada Desert. Wife … if you’re reading this … “The Hangover” is just a Movie and none of those crazy things happen in Vegas … cause what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas LOL. I can’t seem to find an official count for the amount of space utilised for SEMA, but let’s just say they utilise most of the Las Vegas Convention Centre … which has a total space count of 300000 square metres. To hell with the 24 hours of flying required to get there … I am going to have to start training to endure the trip once we get there LOL.

Here’s one thing I actually didn’t know about SEMA. It’s NOT open to members of the Public … it’s a show for 100000 people by invitation or application ONLY (60000 people attended SEMA 2011). The Media accreditation is as strict as an MSA Media Accreditation. If someone had told me that between applying for a US Visa and a SEMA accreditation, the US Visa would be the easier of the two I would’ve laughed at them. Having said that, both applications were relatively painless, just with the US Visa being surprisingly easy, not like any of the horror stories I had heard. I must’ve had 20 odd supporting documents, bank statements, etc. for my US Visa interview … the interview took 2 minutes and they asked for No supporting documentation at all. The walk from the nearby shopping centre where you have to park took longer!!

So … on the 29th October Raceweb will be headed to SEMA 2012. Unfortunately, we’ll only be at the show for three of the four days, but we plan to make the best of it. We will keep in touch via twitter and Facebook. But between seeing Ken Block in action LIVE for the first time, SEMA the show itself and being in Las Vegas for the first time with Saleem … don’t be surprised if the Hangover 3 story revolves around 2 South Africans. We’re going to Vegas Baby!!



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