Many months ago the fine folks at Dick Cepek Tires and Wheels asked me if I would be interested in putting my wrapped truck in the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this November. SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association and the SEMA Show is where thousands upon thousands of products for vehicles are displayed.
The idea of having my Bassmaster Elite Series tow vehicle in such a huge trade show sounded awesome, but the idea of driving my truck from Tennessee out to Las Vegas made me hesitate just a bit. Before I could express my reservations about the rather lengthy drive, they offered to ship my truck out to Vegas.
Do what? Ship my truck to Vegas?
They explained that a truck would come pick up my truck and haul it out to Vegas, I could fly out there for the show, fly back and they would return my truck.
Needless to say, I was floored. I had never been to SEMA, but I was aware of the magnitude of the show – and to have my truck shipped out there – absolutely!
So about a week before SEMA, a big 18-wheel car hauler shows up at my house to pick up my truck. The problem, however, was my truck was oversized and wouldn’t fit on the standard hauler. After that, I figured I better get in my truck and just start driving it to Vegas myself. Then the phone rang and I got the news that another truck was on its way to pick up my truck. Sure enough, the next day, another hauler better suited to hold my truck pulled up to the house. They put my truck on the trailer and it headed west.
Several days later, I boarded a plane, flew into Las Vegas, walked into the massive SEMA Show and actually got completely lost. I have been to big trade shows like ICAST before, but nothing prepares you for the monstrousness of the SEMA Show – it is one of the biggest shows that comes to Vegas every year, second only to the International Consumer Electronics Show.
Essentially, SEMA is more than 1 million square feet of motorized vehicle madness. I walked the show for three full days and never even saw half of it. There are literally thousands upon thousands of booths.
And it’s not just roped off Lamborghinis and Ferraris – although there are plenty of those. If it can go on a car, truck or motorcycle, you will find it at SEMA.
The aftermarket and accessory side of the car and truck business is just mindboggling. There are manufacturers there for every single piece that goes on a vehicle and beyond – engine parts, upholstery, carpet, seats, the springs that go in the seats, the machines that make the springs that go in seats – I mean you can’t even imagine it all. Paint and body restoration products, fluids, additives, waxes, polishes, lifts, jacks, garages, flooring for garages – where does it end?
And the customized items that go on vehicles … my gosh. Honestly, some of it is not even practical. So much of it is really art – handcrafted running boards and roll bars with designs and patterns that are so intricate it must have taken hours to make just one. And if you want to know how they made, say, custom exhaust pipes, well I’m sure the company that makes the tool that makes customizing pipes possible was in there somewhere, too. It never ends. I’m pretty sure you could have found diamond encrusted valve stems in that place if you looked hard enough.
Oh, and what about my truck? Dude, where’s my truck? Well, after some searching I found the Dick Cepek Tires and Wheels booth and there it was, pretty as ever. Not only had it been delivered, but the guys at Dick Cepek spiffed her up with some new wheels, tires and a detailing – my truck never looked so good.
A few days after returning home from the SEMA Show, my head was still rumbling with images of everything automotive. And as for my truck? Well, if you happen to see a Cabela’s/Geico Truck with brand new wheels and tires strapped to a hauler that is eastbound, let me know.