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The SEMA Show Experience

CarShowz Features

The SEMA Show Experience

The SEMA Show Experience – After attending the 2022 SEMA Show, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on what the show experience is really like.  Prior to leaving, the best advice I got was “bring good shoes”.  The massive show fills every convention hall that the Las Vegas Convention Center has to offer.  That is over 2.5 million square feet of indoor space filled with car related products, vendors, and show cars.

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For comparison, the average Sam’s Club is about 134,000 sq ft according to WalMart.com.  To cover the equivalent area of the entire show you would have to walk up and down every single aisle of your local Sam’s Club about 19 times, remembering to stop at least twice in every aisle for a few minutes to look at something interesting.  When you are done inside, then you can head outside to the parking lot to check out the overflow of show cars, drifting demos, and even more vendors.  Thankfully, there are three full days of the show.  I needed all of them.  I covered about two buildings a day and left the largest hall featuring Hot Rod Alley for the final day.  I would start walking around 9am and wouldn’t stop until about 4:30pm. 

When hearing about the SEMA Show, typically the fantastic builds get all the attention.  But the real purpose of the show is to connect the automotive industry.  The show is packed wall to wall with vendors showing off their latest products and services.  Things like offroad products, wheels, tires, tools, collision repair products, racing products, restoration products, mobile electronics, car care accessories, and products to support and expand your automotive business. 

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So where are all those cool cars and celebrities you see on TV?  They are at the vendor booths.  Vendors bring along vehicles that showcase their products being used.  The better the build, the more attention they can bring to their booth.  Similarly, celebrities make appearances to help attract attention to a particular product or vendor.  There were so many celebrity appearances, that you could spend three days just trying to meet them all and not have time for much else.

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Let’s pause to talk about those rides.  Before I went to the show, I wondered if every vehicle there would be a spectacular custom build.  The answer is no, but I still was not disappointed.  There were new cars from the like of Dodge and Toyota.  There were offroad and camper vehicles.  There were concept cars from DeLorean and Lexus.  There were UTVs, extreme golf carts, and even a couple boats.  And of course, there were tons of custom cars, trucks, and motorcycles.  The custom vehicles were exceptionally well built.  In my estimation, about 60% of the custom vehicles would easily win best in show at any local car show. The challenge of the show is having enough time to see it all.  Outside there were two different drifting exhibitions area.  I could have spent all day just watching drifting, but I had to balance my time to see the rest of the show (and get a break from the tire smoke).  As a car enthusiast at heart, I enjoyed talking with the vendors.  I got a chance to ask some questions about products I have seen online, but never had a chance to touch.  It was fun getting a chance meet a few TV personalities, including Dave Kindig and Aaron Kauffman.  But the majority of my time was spent with my head on a swivel looking for great rides to feature here on CarShowz.com. 

The SEMA Show Experience Coverage

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Rob Walko joined CarShowz in 2019 as a Contributing Photographer to cover local events in the Mid-Atlantic area. Rob has since established himself as a well-rounded Photographer with his unique style and enjoys attending events throughout the Mid-Atlantic region in his convertible Ford Mustang.

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