HRIA Reception and Award Recipients

SEMA Member News—January 2017

By Katie Carson

HRIA Reception and Award Recipients

  HRIA Hall of Fame
Jerry Kennedy (second from right) of National Street Rod Association was inducted into the HRIA Hall of Fame.

The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) reception, held at the 2016 SEMA Show, was attended by more than 500 hot-rod professionals and enthusiasts. The annual reception serves as an evening of networking for current and aspiring HRIA members who discuss the latest industry trends with others who share their passion for hot rods. Rick Love of Vintage Air emceed the reception, and six hot rods were on display, highlighting the works of up-and-coming builders. Chris Kersting stopped by to greet attendees, and influential businesses and individuals were honored at an awards ceremony.

Business of the Year: Roadster Shop

Roadster Shop is constantly evolving the technology associated with chassis and suspension for a variety of applications. Every year, the shop pushes the envelope further with design and engineering, and it offers high-quality products at very affordable prices.

In addition to its product lines, Roadster Shop also builds some of the most forward-thinking show cars in the hot-rod industry. The shop’s staff is never afraid to push the boundaries of design. The level of quality and customer service that the Roadster Shop offers may be unrivaled in the industry. The continual push for newer, more affordable options for suspension has propelled the industry in an immeasurable way.

Industry Recognition: Brian Downard, Lokar Performance Products

HRIA Business of the Year
Brian Downard (second from right) of Lokar Performance Products was presented with the HRIA Industry Recognition Award.

In his career Brian Downard has demonstrated a willingness and desire to make the industry better. From his time at SLP, Stainless Works and Mickey Thompson, to his current position as vice president at Lokar Performance Products, he has been a fantastic mentor to younger car builders and business people who are trying to break into the industry. In addition to his willingness to advise, support and encourage the next generation, he has spent the last six years serving on the HRIA select committee as chair of the HRIA Education Day.

HRIA Hall of Fame

Alex Xydias

Alex Xydias is an industry icon. Just days after his discharge from the Army Air Corps in 1946, he opened SO-CAL Speed Shop. Through the ’50s, he teamed with various drivers and fielded several bell tankers and liners at Bonneville and the dry lakes and racked up numerous records before turning to drag racing with a chopped ’34 coupe. He has spent his life dedicated to the high-performance industry as a filmmaker, documenting racing events all over the country. He spent 12 years at Petersen Publishing Company, organized the SCORE off-road equipment trade show and now oversees the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts. He has been recognized by many industry establishments with honors and inductions into their halls of fame.

Jerry Kennedy

Jerry Kennedy has always had a fascination with four wheels and car clubs, joining The Highwaymen while still in high school and eventually participating in the formation of a new club called the Colorodans. In the early ’70s, Kennedy became a charter member of the National Street Rod Association and shortly after was named the National Street Rod Association representative for Colorado. After eventually becoming the northwest division director and national field director for the National Street Rod Association, he became a full-time employee as special events director—a title he still holds today. He and his wife Connie have two daughters and just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Together, they have dedicated 45 years to promoting and producing National Street Rod Association events.

HRIA Raises $15,585 for Charity and SEMA Scholarship Fund

HRIA reception attendees were given the opportunity to take one-of-a-kind hot rods home with them in the form of pinewood cars. Nationally recognized builders made small-scale hot rods to showcase their talents and to raise money for SEMA Cares children’s charities. The miniature hot rods were auctioned off at the HRIA reception, raising $6,835 for the charities.

The reception’s table sponsors donated a total of $8,750 to the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund and were honored at the event. Special thanks to:

  • Advanced Plating
  • Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop
  • American Autowire
  • Borgeson Universal
  • Bowler Performance Transmissions
  • Car Buff Network
  • Championship Auto Shows
  • Classic Instruments
  • Comp Performance Group
  • Danny’s Rod Shop
  • Flaming River Industries Inc.
  • Goodguys Rod & Custom Association
  • Goolsby Customs
  • Hot Rods by JSK
  • ididit Inc.
  • Lokar Inc.
  • Motorstate Distributing
  • National Street Rod Association
  • Painless Performance Products
  • Ron Francis Wiring
  • Steele Rubber Products
  • TEN, The Enthusiast Network
  • Vintage Air
  • Xceleration Media
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