An Evening of Celebration and Recognition for Hot Rodders

SEMA Member News—January/February 2014

An Evening of Celebration and Recognition for Hot Rodders

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) kicked off its annual industry reception on Wednesday, November 6, with Mike Kinney of Moonlight Auctioneering Services leading the way through the council’s live auction to benefit the two charities supported by SEMA Cares: Childhelp and Victory Junction.


Dennis Overholser (center), co-founder of Painless Performance Products, was inducted into the HRIA Hall of Fame, attended by HRIA Chair Rick Love (left) and John Mcleod of the alliance’s select committee.
Dennis Overholser (center), co-founder of Painless Performance Products, was inducted into the HRIA Hall of Fame, attended by HRIA Chair Rick Love (left) and John Mcleod of the alliance’s select committee.

The live auction featured three award-winning participants from HRIA’s Pinewood Builder’s Challenge. These cars first appeared at the annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Races as a part of the Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser last summer. Prior to the reception, the cars were displayed in the HRIA booth so that all Show attendees who walked through Hot Rod Alley could enjoy the creativity and craftsmanship of each one.

Alan Johnson of Johnson Hot Rods in Gadsden, Alabama, received the “Best Engineered” award for his pinewood.

“Best in Show” winner Larry Burchett of B Rod or Custom in Knoxville, Tennessee, created a ’50s lead sled. Inspired by ’48 Cadillac and Chevrolet models, Burchett said that he wanted to make something unique.

“My goal was to make something that would cause the bidders to want it,” explained Burchett. “The only reason we do this is to raise awareness of children’s charities, and all of the people on the build donated time and money to make it happen. I have a team of people who care about children. It’s not about us; it’s about the kids.”

Derek White of Street Vizions in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, won the Pinewood Drags for the fourth consecutive year. His ’36 Fiat Topolino was inspired by a very special friend of HRIA.

“We built the car for John Menzler,” White said. “He was a great friend of mine and the whole industry. He was going through some tough times before he passed, and we wanted to appreciate him.”

Menzler, who was a longtime supporter of SEMA and its councils, passed away on October 3, 2013. He served for years on the select committees of the Automotive Restoration Market Organization, HRIA and the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council. Menzler was SEMA’s 2011 Person of the Year in addition to receiving many other council awards throughout his automotive career.

HRIA thanks the companies who contributed to the SEMA Memorial Scholarship through table sponsorships:
  • Advanced Plating
  • American Autowire
  • Borgeson Universal Co. Inc.
  • Championship Auto Shows Inc.
  • Classic Instruments
  • COMP Performance Group
  • Flaming River
  • Goodguys Rod & Custom Association
  • Goolsby Customs
  • ididit Inc.
  • Lokar Performance Products
  • Motor State Distributing
  • National Street Rod Association
  • Painless Performance Products
  • Source Interlink Media
  • Steele Rubber Products
  • Vintage Air
HRIA took time to honor Menzler during a moment of silence in the 2013 reception program.

Eight other cars were sold in a silent auction, including entries built by Mike Cooper of Spanky’s Hot Rods and Customs, Doug Dryer of Essential Marketing Services, Jay Gruba of G3 Rods, Ty Hauer of Reisinger Custom Rebuilding, Derek Johnson of Performance Associates, Keith Kaucher of Kaucher Kustoms, Dave Kindig of Kindig Designs and Doug Poad.

In addition to the pinewood cars, the silent auction included a limited-edition signature model Gibson Les Paul that was donated by Steve Tracy of Advanced Plating, and Dave Williams of Rampage Products contributed a trail can toolbox that was custom pinstriped by Von Hot Rod.

Following the auction, legendary emcee Dave McClelland took the stage to present the 2013 HRIA industry awards. Congratulations to all of the 2013 award winners.

Each year, the select committee votes to decide on an HRIA Hall of Fame recipient. The 2013 honoree was Dennis Overholser, co-founder of Painless Performance Products.

The general membership of the council also votes annually on two other special honors: the Industry Recognition Award and the 2013 Business of the Year.

The Industry Recognition Award goes to an individual who has contributed to the industry through volunteerism, special projects and leadership. Rick Love of Vintage Air was honored as the 2013 recipient. The 2013 Business of the Year was Yogi’s Inc.

In addition to the HRIA awards, the National Street Rod Association presented its Street Rodding Achievement Award to The International Show Car Association.

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association Trendsetter Award went to Jonathan Goolsby and Josh Henning of Goolsby Customs.

The International Show Car Association/Championship Auto Shows Legends of Hot Rodding Award was earned by SEMA Hall of Famer George Barris.