Hot Rodder’s Guide to the SEMA Show

SEMA Member News—November/December 2013

Hot Rodder’s Guide to the SEMA Show

Hot Rod Alley in the Central Hall

One of the SEMA Show’s premier sections, Hot Rod Alley spotlights the craftsmanship and creations of a market that many consider the cornerstone of the specialty-equipment industry. Located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Hot Rod Alley showcases some of the industry’s brightest manufacturers displaying their latest innovations and products alongside top-notch show vehicles. Attendees will also find great examples throughout Hot Rod Alley that showcase the history of hot rodding.

HRIA Booth Vehicles in Hot Rod Alley

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) booth #23395 is located in Hot Rod Alley. HRIA shares the space with the Automotive Restoration Market Organization, and it features six vehicles representing the best of both organizations. The cars include hot rods, custom vehicles and full restorations. Throughout the week, select committee members from both councils staff the booth, giving attendees a chance to interact one-on-one and find answers to questions about the groups or the benefits available through membership. Stop by the booth for information about council events as well as to pick up tickets for the annual HRIA awards banquet and reception.

HRIA Awards Banquet and Reception


The HRIA awards banquet and reception is one of the best opportunities for members of the hot-rod industry to meet and mingle.
The HRIA awards banquet and reception is one of the best opportunities for members of the hot-rod industry to meet and mingle.

The HRIA awards banquet is the second-largest reception during SEMA Show week, with more than 600 attendees. Industry icons, personalities and celebrities attend the event to spend time with old friends and make new acquaintances in the industry. This year’s event will take place Wednesday, November 6, from 5:15 p.m.–8:30 p.m. in the Las Vegas Hotel, Ballrooms A–B. HRIA members and interested SEMA Show attendees may pick up tickets to the banquet at HRIA booth #23395 in Hot Rod Alley.

Dave McClelland will again host the event. As a part of the evening festivities, the Nellis Air Force Base Honor Guard will be present to honor those who have served and continue to serve our country.

HRIA will also induct new members into its hall of fame during the reception. Along with HRIA’s own annual awards, the reception is home to three other prestigious industry honors: the Goodguys Trendsetter Award, the NSRA Achievement Award and the Championship Auto Shows Legends of Hot Rodding Award. Learn more about the past recipients of the HRIA awards.

“The real point of what we do is meeting and talking with people,” said HRIA Chair-Elect John McLeod. “The reception gives HRIA a format to recognize some important people who make the industry what it is today. It also levels the playing field. We all have our heroes, and I’ve met some of mine at the event. But as we interact, we’re all just human for a little while.”

Another highlight of the evening is the auction of the Pinewood Builders Challenge cars to raise money for SEMA Cares. This charitable SEMA wing supports Childhelp, a nonprofit organization that assists victims of child abuse, and Victory Junction, a camp for children fighting chronic illnesses. The auction ensures that the HRIA reception is not only a great opportunity for the legends of the industry to mingle with the next generation of hot rodders, but is also a chance for members to make a difference.

McLeod encourages HRIA members to make plans to celebrate the hot-rod industry alongside peers from all over the country.

“At this event, you have the opportunity to see what the hot-rod industry is all about, and that is the relationships and people involved,” he explained. “If it weren’t for that, we’d just be a bunch of people playing with cars.”

McLeod’s best advice is to arrive early; the event is always standing-room only.

Pinewood Builders Challenge

Each year, some of the nation’s best hot-rod and custom-car builders compete in the HRIA Pinewood Builders Challenge. Builders are given a block of wood and very few rules, and they then create their own one-of-a-kind pinewood race cars. These miniature hot rods are first raced at the annual SEMA Pinewood Drag Races as a part of the Installation Banquet and Gala Fundraiser. (Derek White of Street Vizions won that race for the fourth consecutive year.) However, the true value of these cars is the creativity and craftsmanship that has gone into their design and build.

Each of the cars will be on display in HRIA booth #23395 during the SEMA Show as well as during the HRIA reception.