SEMA Member News—January/February 2013
Fall Nationals Goes Under the Lights!
The Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) Fall Nationals Industry Awards Reception moved back to its traditional home at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino (formerly the Hilton) and returned in grand style. The reception was held outside in the Garden Patio North.
“We benefitted from the fact that SEMA was holding its own reception in the same location the following night,” said TORA Chairman George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive Operations. “They set up their stage and some of the lighting a day in advance, giving us a fantastic atmosphere and the best reception venue of the entire Show.”
The central attraction at the TORA Reception was once again the Fall Nationals Pinewood Drags. Reception attendees “rented” pinewood racers for $20 each and competed for the title of TORA Top Eliminator. All proceeds benefited SEMA Cares, which supports the Victory Junction Camp and Childhelp facilities. In addition to the new venue, TORA had the racetrack set up on an elevated runway, which gave attendees a clear view of the racing action under the lights. TORA Select Committee member Rick Hermann of Weather Tech was master of ceremonies and did a masterful job of calling the races and keeping the crowd of 250-plus entertained. More than $2,800 was raised for SEMA Cares from the pinewood races.
“I really have to congratulate our Select Committee members,” said Lathouris. “They all jumped in and ran the event from start to finish. They looked like they’ve been running pinewood races for years. Chair-Elect Kelly Kneifl (of THI) sat right down and ran the car selection table from beginning to end, and the whole evening went off like clockwork. It’s very rewarding to work with such an engaged group of volunteers. They really epitomize what volunteering is all about.”
TORA Industry Awards
“The Fall Nationals is so much fun,” said Lathouris. “And while having fun, we raise money for SEMA Cares. However, we will always make sure to recognize our industry peers who make such outstanding contributions.”
Racing action was interrupted briefly to present the following 2012 TORA Industry Awards:
- Retailer of the Year: Trucks N Trailers USA, Tom Moore
- Industry Recognition Award: RV 4 Wheel Drive & Performance Automotive, Bob Smeigh
- Best New Product Over $500: BAK Industries, Roll-X Aluminum Roll Up Covers
- Best New Product Under $500: US Speedo, LED Dashboard Lighting Kits
- Chairman’s Award: Jim Skelly, SEMA
Thanks to our Sponsors
The TORA Fall Nationals Industry Awards Reception would not be possible without the help of the event’s sponsors.
Booth Display Generates $7,500 for SEMA Cares
The TORA booth display in upper South Hall at the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas once again included five outstanding trucks. Not only did the vehicles depict TORA-member company products in “real-life” installations, but each also represented a $1,500 donation to SEMA Cares, for a total of $7,500.
“We had another outstanding collection of trucks this year,” said Lathouris. “I’m amazed that we no longer have to solicit the membership for vehicles. We are now in a situation where we already have companies submitting proposals for next year, and each one knows they are responsible for a sizable donation to SEMA Cares in exchange for a spot.”
TORA and SEI Unveil Online Product Training
The SEMA Education Institute (SEI) and TORA unveiled a new Online Product Training package at the SEMA Show. Manufacturers work with an outside vendor to produce either a 15- or a 30-minute video presentation. Each presentation fits into a template format so that resellers know what kind of information will be available to them, regardless of the manufacturer or product. The training includes quizzing, and progress and results may be tracked. The training is housed on the SEI eLearning site (www.SEMA.org/sei). For more information contact Jim Skelly at jimsk@SEMA.org.