TORA Fall Nationals More Than a Reception

SEMA Member News—January/February 2011

  TORA Fall Nationals event raised more than $1,600 for Victory Junction Gang Camp.
The TORA Fall Nationals was a big hit with the annual reception crowd. The event raised more than $1,600 for Victory Junction Gang Camp. 
TORA’s annual industry awards reception took on an entirely new look at the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Playing off TORA’s longtime support of Victory Junction Gang Camp, TORA hosted the first-ever TORA Fall Nationals Pinewood Drags. A six-lane Pinewood Track was assembled right in the reception hall and, in keeping with the racetrack theme, hamburgers and hot dogs were the main fare.

“This was a true team effort,” said TORA Chairman Kelly Kneifl, “not only from the select committee but also from SEMA staff, ConVexx, Freeman and the Renaissance Hotel staff. We raised over $1,600 for Victory Junction while having all this fun.”

In addition to the Pinewood fundraising, each vehicle on display in the TORA booth at the SEMA Show represented a $1,000 donation to Victory Junction. These generous donations allowed TORA to purchase several Pinewood Drag tracks for Victory Junction and Childhelp facilities around the country, including the one utilized by SEMA at its annual Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser and at the TORA Fall Nationals.

TORA had 72 Pinewood cars on hand, which were all built by kids at a Childhelp facility in Virginia. Tom Brooks of Truckin Thunder was kind enough to tote them all the way to Las Vegas just for this event. Participants could “rent” one of the cars for the evening for $20. It took only 20 minutes to sell out all of the cars, and then the fun began.

  Industry legend Dave Herrmeyer of Truckin Times
Industry legend Dave Herrmeyer of Truckin Times was presented with an Industry Icon award from SnugTop and the TORA Lifetime Achievement Award.
  George Lathouris (left) of Keystone Automotive Operations & Tom Brooks of Truckin Thunder
TORA Chair-Elect George Lathouris (left) of Keystone Automotive Operations presented Tom Brooks of Truckin Thunder with the TORA Hall of Fame Award.
Twelve elimination heats of six cars each were run, advancing 12 cars to the semifinal round and ultimately two cars for the final. When the graphite dust had cleared from all 72 cars (graphite is used to lubricate the wheels of the Pinewood race cars), Steve Bralier of Undercover emerged as the first-ever TORA Fall Nationals “Top Eliminator.” Bralier capped the evening by donating his first-place prize of a $100 American Express debit card to Victory Junction.

If you missed this inaugural event, don’t worry; plans are already underway for the 2011 Fall Nationals!

TORA Presents Industry Awards

While the Fall Nationals was a big hit with the crowd, TORA kept focus on industry recognition. Competition was suspended for a time to allow the presentation of the annual TORA industry awards. In addition to the traditional TORA awards, special recognition was given to retiring industry veteran and TORA member Dave Herrmeyer of Truckin Times. TORA presented Herrmeyer with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and SnugTop presented him with its own Industry Icon award.

Other 2010 TORA industry award winners included:

  • 2010 TORA Hall of Fame Award: Tom Brooks of Truckin’ Thunder
  • 2010 TORA Retailer of the Year: Chux Trux
  • 2010 TORA Chairman’s Award: Chris Ripper
  • Best Product Over $500: Invis-A-Rack, Cargo Management System
  • Best Product Under $500: Putco, LED Day Liner

Thank You TORA Fall Nationals Sponsors

The fantastic evening enjoyed by everyone at the TORA Fall Nationals would not have been possible without the generous donations of our sponsoring companies. TORA thanks the following sponsors for helping make the Fall Nationals a success.

  • American Technology Components
  • BDS Suspension
  • DeeZee
  • BedRug
  • Extang
  • Hella
  • K&N Filters
  • Keystone Automotive Operations
  • Jim Wrobleski & Company Inc.
  • Meyer Distributing
  • Truck Covers
  • TruXedo
  • Undercover
  • Weathers Auto Supply
  • Weather Tech