By Juan Torres
Jacob Neuenschwander, 22, will travel to Las Vegas in a few months to compete in one of the industry’s most prestigious vehicle build competitions—the 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders—after winning the Young Guns category at the 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals in Lima, Ohio, May 19–21.
For his Young Guns victory, Neuenschwander was awarded a spot at the 2017 SEMA Show, October 31–November 3, for his ’04 Dodge Ram pickup, which will now go head-to-head against hundreds of vehicles from some of the world’s top builders in the exclusive competition.
“It’s so awesome to win the SEMA Battle of the Builders Young Guns title. It’s a dream come true to be able to display my truck at the SEMA Show,” said Neuenschwander, who was also awarded an all-expense-paid trip for two and transportation for his truck to the Show. “It’s unreal. It will continue to seem like a dream until I finally get to the SEMA Show and it hits me that I’m actually there.”
Neuenschwander had been trying for years to have his truck displayed at the trade-only SEMA Show, so he’s excited to finally be a part of the elite group of builders at the Show.
“The SEMA Show is the best of the best, and it’s a lifetime opportunity to meet a lot of people and companies in the industry,” he said. “Being at the SEMA Show is like I’ve finally reached the end goal of this truck build.”
Battle of the Builders participants get a chance to participate in the SEMA Cruise during SEMA Ignited and possibly be featured in the Battle of the Builders TV special, which makes it possible for consumers to connect with manufacturers and see the great new products and trends that debut at the trade-only SEMA Show.
In an effort to support young builders and recognize them as the future of the industry, SEMA created the Young Guns regional program this year and partnered with car shows to highlight builders 27 years old or younger, six of whom will be sent to the 2017 SEMA Show.
“We partnered with AutoCon, Bonnier and Goodguys due to the excellence of their shows and to recognize and encourage participation of young builders from around the country,” said SEMA Vice President of Marketing, PR and Communications Ira Gabriel. “The youth are essential to our industry. There are many amazing and talented younger enthusiasts and vehicle builders who can look to the SEMA Show and Battle of the Builders and get excited about our industry.”
Neuenschwander, who painted and airbrushed every part of the truck, and built the 1,000hp engine with help from his friends, is looking forward to seeing all of the other amazing builds at the 2017 SEMA Show.
“I can’t wait to see everyone’s builds and be a part of the group,” he said. “I want to keep the truck the same so that when I’m 50 or 60 years old, I can look back at it and relive this great experience.”
SEMA Show builders interested in gaining national exposure by showcasing their car and parts through the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition can register at www.sema.org/botb. The deadline for entry is September 1.