Honors and Accolades for Hot Rodders at the SEMA Show
For members of SEMA’s Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), the SEMA Show is more than a business trip. Each year, the council focuses on creating opportunities for members to connect with each other and celebrate the niche they love.
In 2014, HRIA once again collaborated with the Automotive Restoration Market Organization to showcase the artistry of their members in a Hot Rod Alley booth. This was a destination point for members who needed a break or wanted to reconnect with old friends. The booth featured three display vehicles representing the hot-rod niche and three others representing the restoration market. Throughout the week, members visited to enjoy the cars, rest their feet and share information about the council with other visitors to the booth.
For the first time, council members paused during their booth visits to vote for the “Best Engineered” and “Best in Show” Pinewood Builders Challenge cars. The winning creations from Jesse Greening of Greening Auto Company and Doug Dwyer of American Sales and Marketing were sold in a live auction during the HRIA industry awards reception, alongside the “People’s Choice,” by Glenn See of Garage Majal, as chosen by Facebook fans. The remaining cars and a limited-edition guitar were sold in a silent auction, with the proceeds benefitting SEMA Cares charities. All told, the council raised more than $7,000 for charity and gave a platform to numerous builders in the hobby.
The reception had plenty of other highlights and was full of tradition and industry recognitions, as usual. Dave McClelland, “The Voice of SEMA,” hosted the program, which began with a flag ceremony by the Nellis Air Force Base Honor Guard. Attendees enjoyed a photo booth during the networking reception, and SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting stopped by to greet attendees. Throughout the evening, members of the HRIA select committee shared comments about accomplishments and current initiatives.
Before presenting the 2014 industry awards, the council paused to thank outgoing select committee members Del Austin, Kerry Hopperstad and Janeen Webb.
The 2014 HRIA Business of the Year award was presented to Steele Rubber Products. For more than 50 years, the company has provided original replacement parts to many rodders and it has now developed parts specifically for street-rod use.
Brian Brennan of The Enthusiast Network was honored with the HRIA Industry Recognition Award. Brennan was influential in growing the annual reception and consistently provided space in Street Rodder magazine for HRIA news and Pinewood Builders Challenge features. He is also supportive of young builders, always willing to offer advice and often recognizing them through the magazine.
The final council award was the prestigious HRIA Hall of Fame honor, given to Rick Craze of Lokar, who has assisted many companies in the hot-rod segment gain exposure through new outlets while offering his own wisdom and business savvy but never expecting anything in return. Craze was not able to be at the event, but accepted the award by video.
- HRIA’s partner associations also took the opportunity to present their own awards.
- The ISCA Legends of Hotrodding award went to Gary Meadors of Goodguys.
- The Goodguys Trendsetter award was presented to Andy Leach of Cal Automotive Creations.
- The National Street Rod Association presented its Street Rodding Achievement award to John McLeod of Classic Instruments.
The 2014 HRIA Business of the Year award was presented to Steele Rubber Products. Company President Matt Agosta (center) accepted the award from HRIA Chair Rick Love (right) and Chair-Elect John McLeod (left).
Table sponsors donated a total of $7,700 to the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund and were honored with reserved tables at the reception for their companies. Special thanks to:
- Advanced Plating
- Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop
- American Autowire
- Borgeson Universal
- Bowler Performance Transmissions
- Championship Auto Shows
- Classic Instruments
- Comp Performance Group
- Flaming River Industries Inc.
- Goodguys Rod & Custom Association
- Goolsby Customs
- Ididit Inc.
- In Gear Media
- Lokar Inc.
- Motor State Distributing
- National Street Rod Association
- Painless Performance
- Ron Francis Wiring
- Steele Rubber Products
- The Enthusiast Network
- Vintage Air
With the successful SEMA Show festivities in the background, the council will next turn its attention to Education Day preparations. The event will be held on March 6, 2015, at the Detroit Autorama. Many of the industry’s best and most influential manufacturers offer workshops on installations, new products, marketing, selling techniques and tips for running a business. With 25 seminars, this day-long event supports HRIA’s mission to offer quality educational programs benefiting all aspects members’ businesses. The workshops are free, and they fill up fast. Visit www.sema.org/hria for more information and to register.