Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA): Personal Definition: The Show of All Shows, the best way to end a year of Automotive Events. If I saw it racing, I know I’ll see it at SEMA. If I met you on track or race course across the US, I’ll see you at SEMA. If it’s been made for a car… it’s at SEMA, if it’s new to the auto community… it’s at SEMA. 2 million sq ft of exhibition space and 4 days of walking, that’s SEMA.
Cars, friends and the love for the automotive community is SEMA.
Oh, and did I mention that it is also 4 nights of industry parties and “networking” with like minded individuals. This is My Life at Speed, as we navigate the exhibitions, parties and lifestyle that we know and love. – Eric Gearhart
SEMA Day 1:
Its 7:30 and we eagerly woke up with the thoughts and adventures that the day might hold. After getting ready we made our way to Blueberry Hill Family Restaurant. This will probably be a tradition for future SEMA’s to come! Before the heat of the day was upon us, we wandered around the outside of the convention center, to check out the cars on display and found the Lexus booth for custom made T-Shirts! We caught up with a friend who lived in Vegas but knew nothing about SEMA and did the quick tour through the performance building, wheels and tires, and the Electronics Pavilion.
At 4:00 it was time to pickup ML@S contributor Laura at the Airport! With the rest of us a little weary from the day and Halloween in Vegas, Laura rekindled our excitement and sense of adventure. With a quick dinner at In and Out Burger, we headed back to the room and prepared for the DSport Magazine Party at Club XS at the Encore. Richard Fong, Editor of DSport was actually celebrating his B-Day what a better way than a party with 1,000 of your closest friends ,at one of Vegas’s hottest clubs! After catching up with industry friends, we noticed Sarah and Laura were pulled aside off the dance floor into the VIP Area. Hmmm…… Lo and behold they got to spend the rest of the time at the club hanging out with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (UFC Fighter/ B.A. Baracus of the A-Team)! After all of the DSport party action, it was around 4 and time for bed and after a few short hours of sleep – another day at SEMA!
SEMA Day 2:
Our day 2 started off at Starbucks (imagine that after the big blowout b-day party for Richard Fong!), then to the show. Matt Tagles in the ML@S x-Runner dropped us off at the front of the convention center to watch Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan do drift demos for excited fans in their Ford Fiestas. Inside the convention center, we were on the hunt for celebrities (which at SEMA there are plenty): we were quick to find Dave Mirra, Barry Meguiars, Ken Block, Vic Edelbrock. After playing crazed fans, we found our way to the Chevy Test Track where Matt and the girls drove, the Chevy Volts, and Grand Sport Corvettes.
As the day wrapped up and we made for the door, Sarah received a call from Frank a friend of Rampage Jackson. She got a personal invite to cruise the strip with Frank and Rampage in their matching Lamborghini Murciélagos!
Leaving the show we found Matt’s Truck parked at the Riviera, which provided a great photo shoot for the truck. However, he and the other cars there had nice little warning that it wasn’t a parking zone… (My life “caught” @ Speed…haha). After returning to the hotel and watching Sarah get nabbed by a few famous guys in their Lambos, we decided we needed to take a break from party night #2 for SEMA. We took it easy rested up while Kyle Lewis and Sarah made it to the Hot Imports Night Party and I will let them tell their stories in one of the future My Life at Speed installments!
SEMA Day 3:
Was spent wandering the Electronics Pavilion and Performance halls. We met up with Savannah Rickli, racer and a very good friend of ML@S. She was on the pursuit of finding sponsors for her up and coming 2012 season run of Pikes Peak! We ended the day by going to the Old Town stopping at Gold and Silver Pawn of the TV Show Pawn Stars.
Dinner was at the Grand Lux Café. We met up again with Savannah Rickli and other ML@S Pikes Peak racer, Ken Stouffer! That evening we all attended the Falken Tire Party at the Château in the Paris Hotel. We socialized with fellow time attack racers from Apollo Performance, Southern California friends and even hung out with Pikes Peak Champion – Monster Tajima!
SEMA, like always has surprises and unplanned excitement. It’s like no other show or convention I’ve experienced. This is my 5th year going and it won’t be my last. Hope I’ll see you there next time!
Hope you like the photo galleries below. – Eric Gearhart
ML@S Contributor Michele Abbate found at the Mazda booth!
Little bit of drifting first thing in the Morning with Tanner Foust
Test driving a Corvette Grand Sport!
Kyle Lewis(ML@S), Gino Reyna (Apollo Performance), Sarah Carter and Rampage Jackson!
Sarah getting word she cruising the strip in a Lamborghini!
When a Lotus is no longer a Lotus. Hennessy Venom!!!