SEMA Seeks Up-and-Coming Vehicle Builders

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-- SEMA Young Guns program gives builders age 27 and younger a chance to participate in the SEMA Show --

-- Program will now recognize 14 regional winners, up from six builders last year --

In an effort to recognize young talent and foster the future growth of the automotive aftermarket industry, the 2018 SEMA Young Guns Regional Program will provide car builders age 27 or younger throughout the country an opportunity to showcase their vehicle at the premier automotive trade show in the world, the SEMA Show, held Oct. 30-Nov. 2, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Since its inception in 2016, more than 130 Young Guns builders have taken part in the vehicle-build competition. Many of these young builders have gotten a boost toward becoming professional car builders by participating in the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition.

"Young Guns is a strategic initiative to build excitement and involvement among younger builders in our industry," said SEMA Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki. "We’ve been very pleased with the reception to the program so far, and we’re thrilled to build upon its success."

In 2017 SEMA partnered with regional car shows to seek hidden talent and emerging stars. This year the association will help 14 up-and-coming builders (up from six builders in 2017) jump-start their careers with a trip to the 2018 SEMA Show to compete in SEMA Battle of the Builders.

"We have partnered with AutoCon, Bonnier, and Goodguys to help us discover and foster even more up-and-coming builders this year," said SEMA Vice President-Marketing, PR & Communications Ira Gabriel. "We are excited to expand the SEMA Young Guns program and give younger enthusiasts who may not already have a vehicle at the 2018 SEMA Show an opportunity to network with industry leaders at the trade-only event."

Thirteen winners will be recognized from select regional events and will receive a Young Guns prize package that includes an all-expenses paid trip for two to the 2018 SEMA Show, transportation of the winner’s vehicle, entry into the Battle of the Builders competition, and a designated feature spot at the Show, a unique benefit reserved exclusively for exhibitors. Additionally, a 14th winner will be selected via an online fan vote from many of the participating venues.

"Goodguys is always looking to bring the youth into our industry, and joining with SEMA has helped push our current Young Guys program to a new level," said Goodguys Vice President-Sales & Sponsorship Ed Capen. "We look forward to this continued relationship to help bring more awareness though the next generation of enthusiasts."

Regional Young Guns winners will compete alongside industry icons during the 2018 SEMA Battle of the Builders contest, which is the basis for a nationwide television special that will premiere on the Velocity Channel. New for 2018 is the recognition of an overall Young Guns winner from the Top 10 finalists chosen by industry judges.

To qualify for the Young Guns designation at each of the regional shows, a builder must be 27 or younger by the final night of the SEMA Show, Nov. 2, 2018, and must be registered at the participating regional show.

For more information, including a list of participating regional events, visit

About SEMA SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $41.2 billion specialty automotive industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. Association resources include market research, legislative advocacy, training and product development support, as well as leading trade shows such as the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV, and the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Indianapolis, IN. For more information, visit,, or

About Goodguys Based in Pleasanton, Calif., Goodguys Rod & Custom Association promotes and produces the world’s most dynamic automotive events. Founded by lifelong hot rodder the late Gary Meadors and his wife, Marilyn, in 1983, Goodguys is the world’s largest hot rodding association with over 70,000 active members worldwide. Goodguys events feature thousands of hot rods and customs, tricked-out trucks, mighty muscle cars and classics sprawled throughout venues such as lush fairgrounds, super speedways and large outdoor stadiums. The cars, vendor exhibits, the Goodguys AutoCross, live entertainment, swap meet, cars for sale area and colorful people create a festive atmosphere charged with electricity.

About Bonnier Events Bonnier Events is a division of Bonnier Corp., one of the largest special-interest publishing groups in America, with more than 30 multichannel brands extending into all platforms including magazines, digital media, books, events and product licensing. The Bonnier Events division, based in Indianapolis, Ind., is a full-service promotion and marketing firm specializing in producing family entertainment and motorsports events. The division has served more than 50 markets nationally, with 30 to 40 scheduled events per year. Leading events owned and/or produced by Bonnier Events include the 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals Series, the Street Machine Nationals Series, Off-Road Expos in Pomona CA and Scottsdale, AZ, Silver Lake Jeep Invasion, Sand Sports Super Show, Hot Bike Tour, Deer and Turkey Expos, and the International Mother Road Route 66 Festival and Car Show. For more information, visit

About AutoCon Since 2010, AutoCon Events has been recognized as one of the most innovative automotive events in the nation. From the exclusive vehicles on display to the one-of-a-kind "drive up" main stage, the goal of AutoCon is to create a positive environment where attendees of the event can converge, learn, and share common interests with one another. With its core focus on the automotive industry, AutoCon is a place where extraordinary vehicle builds are debuted, product launches happen, news is announced, and the future is introduced.

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