SEMA Battle of the Builders Returns for Its Eighth Season

By Richard Hail

The 2021 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition received more than 240 applications this year from vehicle builders vying for the top title in the prestigious contest. The exclusive competition is open to builders with vehicles displayed at the 2021 SEMA Show.

After a one-year hiatus from Las Vegas, the SEMA Battle of the Builders returns to the SEMA Show being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, November 2-5. The competition serves as the focal point for a nationwide television special and provides builders and exhibitors with increased brand awareness.

“There is pent-up demand to reconnect at the SEMA Show, which is evident through the strong participation we are seeing in the SEMA Battle of the Builders,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “It will be great to see the amazing vehicles and hear the stories behind the builds at this year’s SEMA Show.”

SEMA has once again chosen to air the Battle of the Builders television special on A+E Networks’ FYI and HISTORY’s DRIVE block. Judging this year’s competition are Cam Miller, 2016 SEMA Battle of the Builders winner; Jeremiah Proffitt, a Top 12 finalist from the 2018 program; RJ DeVera from Meguiar’s; and Kyle Kuhnhausen, who placed first in the Young Guns category in 2018. The four judges will select the top builders in the hot-rod, truck/off-road, sport compact, and “Young Guns,” categories, which represents builders aged 27 or younger.

The 40 finalists will be announced Tuesday, November 2, followed by the Top 12 finalists who will be announced on Wednesday, November 3. The 12 remaining competitors will then take on judging duties to determine the ultimate winner who will be announced prior to SEMA Ignited—the official SEMA Show after-party held on November 5.

For more information about the 2021 Battle of the Builders competition and to see behind-the-scenes footage and interviews of some of this year's contestants, visit or SEMA's YouTube channel. For tickets to SEMA Ignited, visit