SEMA News - June 2009

By Jason Catullo


Recognition, Appreciation and Charity

SEMA News-June 2009-Gala-01
During the 2008 Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, attendees cheered as the incoming SEMA Board of Directors took the stage. From left: SEMA Chairman Jim Cozzie; Ralph Accinno, Racer’s Equipment Warehouse; Ron Funfar, Hedman Hedders/Trans-Dapt; Luanne Brown, eTool Developers; B.J. Leanse, Big Country Truck Accessories; Ed Orzetti, Keystone Automotive Operations; Chris Thomson, AIRAID Filter Co.; Tim Watts, Superlift Suspension Systems; and SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting.


The SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser is a time of celebration and giving. The annual event recognizes the efforts of the SEMA Board of Directors—elected volunteers whose experience and skill help to benefit not only their own businesses, but also the industry as a whole. As the outgoing Board members are honored for their service, the newly elected directors are presented and welcomed by SEMA members.

The celebration, set for Saturday, August 1, 2009, at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California, also demonstrates the collective goodwill of the industry through fundraising in support of two important charities—Childhelp and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Childhelp is an organization that assists abused and neglected children, and Victory Junction Gang Camp provides life-changing camping experiences to disabled and chronically ill children.

The association’s second annual Pinewood Drag Race is a major source of the gala’s fundraising efforts. In 2008, a total of 156 cars were built by children at their camps and sponsored by SEMA-member companies through donations to the charities. Last year’s friendly competition raised $40,000, a number that the association is hoping to match or exceed this year.

“Our inaugural event raised significant amounts of money for Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang,” said 2009 SEMA Pinewood Drag Race Committee Chairman Gregory Parker. “We hope to raise even more money this year for these two wonderful charities that do so much for children in need. I know for a fact that you will have a blast while racing against your fellow industry peers and, at the same time, you will be helping a child who desperately needs your help.”

This year, about 250 cars will be built at both the Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp facilities. Any participant who sponsors a child’s car will be designated as the team owner and will race it under the child’s name.

SEMA News-June 2009-Gala 02
 The SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser will be held this year on Saturday, August 1, 2009, at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California.


“SEMA members, staff and their families will help kids at the Childhelp Village and Victory Junction Gang Camp build cars to race in our Sponsor a Kid’s Car division,” said Joel Ayres, chairman of the SEMA Cares Committee. “Last year, SEMA members said it was one of the most enjoyable experiences they participated in.”

Participants may also enter their own derby cars, and the drag race will feature three classes: Stock, Modified and Unlimited. eBay Motors has signed on to be presenting sponsor of the 2009 races, which will be held from 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. on August 1. The finals will take place shortly before the banquet begins. To enter the race, visit

In addition to the Board-member festivities and the Pinewood drags, the gala event is also the setting for the introduction of the newest members of the SEMA Hall of Fame. The efforts, expertise and accomplishments of these individuals have enhanced the stature of the industry and contributed to its overall growth. More information on the SEMA Hall of Fame and its inductees is available at

The three days of activities that comprise the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser begin on Thursday, July 30, and include council meetings, Board functions, a State of the Association Address and Town Hall Meeting and the SEMA Internet Symposium. Complete details are available at For more information about the Pinewood Drag Race or any of the activities held in conjunction with the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, contact Lisa Moreno at 909/396-0289, ext. 105, or

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