SEMA Show Highlights

TORA Hall of Fame, Retailer of the Year Award Winners Announced

By Ashley Reyes

The SEMA Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) has announced the recipients for two of the council’s prestigious industry awards—The TORA Hall of Fame and TORA Retailer of the Year.

TORA Hall of Fame – Henry "Tyson" Leonard (Deceased 2020), Leonard Building and Truck Accessories

Established to recognize and honor an outstanding individual whose creativity and industriousness has significantly enhanced or contributed to the industry’s growth, Henry “Tyson” Leonard of Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories has been named the 2020 TORA Hall of Fame Award recipient.

Leonard, who passed away early this year, founded Leonard Aluminum Utility Buildings, a manufacturer of storage buildings, in 1963. Recognizing that the construction of truck covers was very similar to that of portable sheds, the company began selling pickup truck covers in 1969. The diversification helped the company grow even more, and by 1975, Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories was set up in 15 locations. Soon, he expanded the truck accessories line to rear sliding windows for pickups, white plastic toolboxes, aluminum running boards and step bumpers.

Today, the Leonard brand is synonymous with truck accessories in the Southeast and continues to flourish in 58 locations and counting. Beyond business, Leonard was continually focused on the success of his employees and was not only admired as a larger-than-life personality and salesman, but also as a mentor to all Leonard employees. In 2016, Tyson sold his business and transitioned to enjoy his last years on his farm with his wife and animals. In January 2020, Tyson passed away.

TORA Retailer of the Year – Dixie 4 Wheel Drive

Established to recognize an outstanding light-truck accessory retailer that has enhanced the stature and growth of the truck and off-road industry, this year’s TORA Retailer of the Year Award is presented to Dixie 4 Wheel Drive.

Dixie 4 Wheel Drive is a leading influencer of off-road culture in Utah. For more than 20 years, the company has built high-end vehicles that go to the extreme terrain of the Sand Hollow Recreation area and Dixie’s newest location in Moab, Utah. As one of the company’s original owners, Milt Thompson is known for helping build some of the most iconic trails at Sand Hollow State Park recreational area.

Today, Dixie 4 Wheel Drive continues to look for ways to expand education to their customers by focusing on in-person classes. It’s well-known for its “101” class, which introduces new consumers into the lifestyle of the off-road world. Their facilities also host local groups such as the Desert Roads and Trails Society and Utah Public Lands Alliance (UPLA), both focused on keeping recreational lands open. Dixie 4 Wheel Drive can also be found hosting some of the biggest vendor parties at its Moab location during the Easter Jeep Safari.

Hear from Dixie 4 Wheel Drive’s General Manager Tara Thompson as she shares the role her customers play in the success of the business, and what the company is doing to continuously educate their customers directly from their show floor by visiting the TORA Showcase in SEMA360.

You will also be able to hear from Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories’ long-time employee Tracy Goss, as he reflect on Leonard’s legacy and positive impact on the industry.