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SEMA Council & Network News: Small Business Boot Camp Offers Coaching for Restoration Professionals

Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO)
Manufacturers' Rep Network (MRN)
Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)
Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN)
Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) Wheel & Tire Council (WTC)
Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Young Executives Network (YEN)

Strengthen Your Company Through Community

No matter what niche you're in—rods, restoration, racing, restyling, reps, trucks or wheels and tires—there's a SEMA council or professional network that's right for your company. SEMA councils and networks offer members a variety of niche-specific programs and activities designed to provide educational and networking opportunities while promoting their particular market segment.

Visit ARMO's website.

Small Business Boot Camp Offers Coaching for Restoration Professionals

By Amanda Gubbins

Restoration professionals are invited to join the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) for a discussion about some of the top challenges facing restoration shop owners over coffee and a continental breakfast. The interactive discussion will take place for the first time in conjunction with the Detroit Autorama, Saturday, March 8, from 8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m. in Cobo Hall, meeting room 142A.

Sal Perez, ARMO Select Committee member and himself a restoration shop owner, will lead the discussion with other shop owners as they discuss what worked and what didn’t on their own road to a successful car-building business. Topics including time and materials versus job estimates, avoiding the price war by selling your brand, how to fix or finish someone else’s build, and what to do when a customer says, “That wasn’t broken when I dropped the car off!” are on the agenda.

The session, this year’s ARMO Small Business Boot Camp, is geared specifically toward builders and shop owners. Council members are encouraged to make the most of this opportunity to share ideas, compare challenges and solutions with other builders and shop owners in a relaxed, round table setting. Register today to reserve your seat.

For more information about the event or how you can become a part of the council, contact Jim Skelly.

Restoration Parts Registration Open for Hot Products Showcase

Registration is now open for the Automotive Restoration Market Organization’s (ARMO) Hot Products Showcase, which will take place April 23–26, 2014, at Spring Carlisle in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

This event is an opportunity for council members to display one or more products in front of one of the single-largest gatherings of automotive restoration enthusiasts in the world.

In addition to having products on display in the Hot Products tent, a professional photographer will photograph each one. The photos will be available to manufacturers and will also be used in a slideshow at the ARMO booth and reception at the SEMA Show. A gallery on the ARMO webpage also houses each of the photos, along with a product description for those unable to attend the event. This publicity is available to ARMO members for only the cost of shipping the product entries to the Carlisle Fairgrounds.

Product entries must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be the product of an ARMO member-company.
  • Must be available for sale (market-ready) by the opening of the Showcase, April 23.
  • Must demonstrate unique/innovative technology and/or be a benefit to the restoration industry.

Members can register products by filling out the online application. All applications must be received by April 18, 2014. Not an ARMO member? Join today to gain access to this event and other council benefits.

Restoration Professionals Gather for Networking at the Hot Products Showcase

ARMO will host a networking mixer in the Hot Products Tent at the Showcase, Thursday, April 24, from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. The mixer will be a chance for members to grab a drink and spend some time interacting one-on-one with council leadership and fellow ARMO members. The council leadership believes this event holds enormous potential for new ideas and partnerships to be formed as members network with new and old industry friends. RSVP to save your spot.

Make Your Voice Heard at the ARMO Industry Discussion

This year, the council will also hold an industry discussion, Friday, April 25, from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at the Hot Products Tent. The session will allow members and others interested in joining the council to voice their concerns, ask questions and offer input to the group. For members who would like to be a part of shaping future projects and events, this will be a chance to make their voices heard. Send in your RSVP today.

For more information about any of these events, contact Council Director Jim Skelly.

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Visit HRIA's website
HRIA Education Day will consist of 24 sessions, each led by a hot-rod parts manufacturer educating attendees about product features, benefits and installation guidelines.

Detroit Autorama Welcomes Hot Rod Industry Alliance Education Day

By SEMA Editors

The Detroit Autorama will host this year’s Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Education Day. The 60-year-old custom car show will take place in March at Cobo Hall. Education Day will be March 6, from 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and consist of 24 sessions led by hot-rod parts manufacturers. These experts will educate attendees about product features, benefits and installation guidelines.

“For more than 10 years, HRIA Education Day has proven to be a key event for helping manufacturers share detailed, and sometimes technical, information about their products with their customers,” said Jim Skelly, SEMA director of councils. “Holding the Education Day program at the Detroit Autorama will allow HRIA members to expand and reach a new audience.”

HRIA previously held its Education Day program at the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show in Indianapolis. The move to the Detroit Autorama will enable manufacturers to reach a new, expanded audience. Autorama, which is well known for having the world’s most coveted hot rods, prestigious awards competitions and top celebrities and student programs, attracts more than 150,000 individuals annually. Education Day is open to all hot-rod shops and businesses, as well as to all Autorama attendees.

“As one of the nation’s premier indoor custom car shows, the Detroit Autorama attracts thousands of businesses and enthusiasts who are passionate and deeply vested in new hot-rod products,” said Peter A. Toundas, president of Championship Auto Shows Inc.—promoter of the event. “The HRIA Education Day program will add a valuable element to the event, giving attendees an opportunity to connect directly with manufacturers, which would be difficult for them to do on their own.”

Attendee registration is now open. Reserve your spot today. For more information about HRIA, contact Jim Skelly.

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Visit TORA's website.
Hammertown filling up on Thursday.
Vehicles fighting for position on all three lines up the waterfall on top of Wrecking Ball.
2012 winner Erik Miller passes another contestant.
Heading home. 

Regional Show Recap—King of the Hammers Q&A

A number of events throughout the year provide opportunities for industry professionals to network, gain ideas and explore new trends. It might not occur to some that all these features are available at the King of the Hammers (KOH), but a few of SEMA’s own members have found great value in their participation. Ben Knaus of Hellwig Products attended the 2014 King of the Hammers and shared his perspective about the importance of this event for fellow members in the diesel, Jeep, lowered, raised and off-road categories.

Please provide an overview of the event.

This race started about six years ago with 12 friends racing for a case of beer and the glory of winning. Since then, it has exploded into an entire racing series called Ultra4, with events all over the world. In 2014 alone, there will be 13 different events across the United States and Europe.

The King of the Hammers takes place in Johnson Valley, California. For 51 weeks out of the year, this is a desolate desert with a few scraggly bushes, but for event week, Means Dry Lake is transformed into the collection of people referred to as Hammertown. Spectators and racers drive miles on a tiny dirt road to set up a city. There is even a vendor section with food and dozens of the top off-road parts manufacturers exhibiting their new products. It’s an off-road enthusiast’s Mecca, where you wake up every morning to racers starting up high-horsepower LS motors, and there are toy haulers, campers, RVs, race rigs, off-road trucks and trailers as far as the eye can see.

What was new at the 2014 event?

Every year the events become more competitive, with more fans and participants. The 2014 numbers have not yet been released, but last year there were more than 35,000 spectators and more than 500,000 people watching online.

The King of the Hammers race has expanded from a single-day race to a full week of events. This year they had the “rock bouncer” competition on the Back Door obstacle, a dirt bike race, a UTV race, two days of qualifying for the main event, a stock class, a modified class, a legends class, a spec class and finally, the main, unlimited class. There is even a “King of the Trimmers” modified lawn mower race. This multitude of classes allows individuals with smaller budgets to still participate and have a good time. Even though big money is becoming a part of KOH, it still is an everyman’s race.

The race has also become progressively longer and more challenging. This year there were three laps covering more than 100 desert miles over some of the hardest rock-crawling trails in the world. Racers reached speeds of more than 100 mph. Of the 156 racers, only 32 finished in the 14-hour time limit.

Who won the event?

This year’s winner of the unlimited race was Loren Healy. In a race that most people are just happy to finish, Loren has dominated and won twice since the race was founded (2010 and 2014). This is even more impressive since he lives in New Mexico, which is nowhere close to the trails he was running at KOH—he only had a few days to familiarize himself with both the desert and rock trails. Not only does he race the King of the Hammers, but he is also currently ranked 11th in the Ultra4 Series.

What products and vehicles stood out to you?

This event is a truck lover’s paradise. I think every pickup known to man was on the lakebed for the race. There are little Ford Ranger pre-runners blasting through the desert and lifted one-ton Dodges towing in huge trailers and toy haulers. There is everything from stock to extremely modified vehicles. I saw a ’70s F-100 playing amongst brand-new Ford Raptors. Everywhere you looked there were tons of Jeeps, Toyota rock crawlers, UTVs, dirt bikes and quads. And those were the recognizable vehicles; some of the rock-crawler rigs were a Frankenstein of Jeep, Chevy, Ford and aftermarket parts with a fair amount of DOM tube thrown in. I even saw a Deuce and a Half with historic plates helping a stuck lifted Chevy 1500. Then there are the racers, pure tube buggies running huge horsepower motors with no limit besides the fabricators’ imagination.

Why is this event important for your business?

If anyone is thinking about going to this event, I cannot recommend it highly enough. You won’t want to leave and go home with your head spinning with ideas.

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YEN Logo

Visit YEN's website
YEN members are invited to register their musclecars for the Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals in Pomona, California.

Young Executives Invited to Participate in the Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals

By SEMA Editors

Young executives in the specialty-equipment market are invited to register their musclecars for the Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals, and the first 25 applicants can receive free admission for themselves, their vehicle and a guest.

The event will take place March 22–23, 2014, at Fairplex in Pomona, California, and will feature a collection of high-performance musclecars, pro-touring cars and street machines for a weekend of festivities focused on vintage vehicles.

At the event, participants will be able to take a spin in their own musclecars on the Autocross timed obstacle course, enjoy cruising lanes, smoke tires in the burnout contests and more. Participants will be required to place their vehicle in the designated outdoor “YEN Corral” both days for the duration of the event; however, vehicles will not be required to remain on the grounds overnight.

Showgoers will enjoy a Miss Street Machine Nationals Contest, pro car builders, seeing their custom creations on display, live music and games, products, demos and displays in the Performance Midway. The weekend will give members of SEMA’s Young Executives Network (YEN) an opportunity to meet and network in a relaxed and fun environment.

Applicants must be YEN members for consideration. The network is free for employees of SEMA-member companies who are under the age of 40. If you have not yet joined the network, sign up today before sending in your application.

For additional information about this event, visit or contact Bryan Harrison, senior manager of networks.

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