Every industry has its annual conventions, trade shows, or expo. It’s a chance to network with fellow industry insiders, preview new products, check up on the competition, and generally have fun for a couple days all under the guise of “work”. Besides the show there’s the nightly debauchery with all manner of temptations and many attendees flock to the usual dens of gyrating decadence as pulsating neon signs draw them in like moths to a bug light. Perhaps the most famous motorsports themed show is the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show which is held in Las Vegas. If it rolls on dirt or asphalt it’s here!
The SEMA show positively eclipses every other show for its size. It fills several large convention halls in Vegas and floods into surrounding parking lots as well. Last year over 125,000 dealers and buyers attended. Although the focus clearly began with traditional cars and trucks, today everything from high-end supercars to ATVs can be found. There is even a powersports pavilion where hot new products that will soon find their way to trails near you often make their debut. With thoughts of new parts and a few days relaxation in an arid, tropical resort in mind, we grabbed our camera and headed out for the bright lights of Vegas.
The circus side show oddities of the off-road world usually make their appearance at SEMA, with some vehicles on display that we would take no further down the trail than we could walk back. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the highly specialized, custom built vehicles with meticulous detail work and gorgeous, museum quality paint jobs. Highly modified Jeeps and trucks are everywhere. The ATV and Side x Side world is well represented with everything from trailer queens that will never see dirt to machines that looked like they were ridden out of the desert and onto the expo floor. Rather than describe everything we found, we’ll give you a pictorial preview instead.