By Juan Torres
Edwin Caballero (right) will go head-to-head against hundreds of vehicles from top builders in the world at the 2018 SEMA Show, where he hopes his ’14 Subaru STI will be named to the Young Guns Top 10 list.
When Edwin Caballero entered his ’14 Subaru STI into AutoCon Los Angeles this year, he was looking to simply show off the modifications he had done to his car during the last two years. Instead, the 22-year-old’s life as a vehicle enthusiast was forever changed when he was named winner of the event’s Young Guns category.
As part of the prize package, Caballero was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas to compete in the SEMA Battle of the Builders contest at the 2018 SEMA Show, where he will display his STI in a designated feature spot—a unique benefit typically reserved exclusively for exhibitors at the trade-only event.
“I have no words to describe how surprised I was to win one of the Young Guns regional titles and the opportunity to attend the SEMA Show,” said Caballero. “During the event, a friend told me he had seen someone at AutoCon last year win a trip to the SEMA Show. I thought he was lying, but it turns out I should have believed him.”
Caballero will now go head-to-head against hundreds of vehicles from top builders in the world at the SEMA Show, held October 30–November 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where he hopes his Subaru will be named to the Young Guns Top 10 list.
“I don't know what to expect,” said Caballero, who has added bucket seats, wider tires and a wide body kit to the STI since taking possession of it. “I've seen the SEMA Show on the Velocity Channel. It is so big and just the greatest, and to think that I will be showing my car there is amazing.”
The SEMA Young Guns program makes it possible for younger enthusiasts who may not already have a vehicle at the 2018 SEMA Show to network with industry leaders at the trade show. This year, a total of 14 Young Guns prize packages will be awarded at select regional events throughout the country.
“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.”
Caballero is anxiously awaiting his opportunity to meet industry icons at the SEMA Show and see the builds of other enthusiasts.
“I’m looking forward to meeting people and seeing the competition in person. Hopefully I’ll make the top 10 in my category, but really I’m just happy to be there,” he said. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world, the ultimate dream come true.”
SEMA Show builders interested in gaining national exposure by showcasing their cars and parts through the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition have until Friday, August 31, to register at www.sema.org/botb. Only feature or booth vehicles that have been accepted by SEMA for display at the 2018 SEMA Show and are not currently under an embargo at the time of entry will be considered for the 2018 SEMA Battle of the Builders.