By SEMA Editors
AutoCon New York Host RJ de Vera (left) and SEMA Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki (right) congratulated Jesus Lopez, whose ’85 Mazda RX-7 will now travel to Las Vegas to compete in SEMA Battle of the Builders at the exclusive 2018 SEMA Show.
In an effort to recognize young talent and foster the future growth of the automotive aftermarket industry, the 2018 SEMA Young Guns Regional Program will provide car builders age 27 or younger throughout the country an opportunity to showcase their vehicles at the 2018 SEMA Show, held October 30–November 2, in Las Vegas.
Since its inception in 2016, more than 130 Young Guns builders have taken part in the vehicle-build competition. Many of these young builders have gotten a boost toward becoming professional car builders by participating in the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition.
“Young Guns is a strategic initiative to build excitement and involvement among younger builders in our industry,” said SEMA Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki. “We’ve been very pleased with the reception to the program so far, and we’re thrilled to build upon its success.”
This past weekend, thousands of enthusiasts gathered in New York City for AutoCon New York, where Jesus Lopez joined a group of young builders who have already earned an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the 2018 SEMA Show. As part of the prize package, Lopez’s ’85 Mazda RX-7 will be transported to Las Vegas to enter the Battle of the Builders competition and will receive a designated feature spot at the Show—a unique benefit reserved exclusively for exhibitors.
“We have partnered with AutoCon, Bonnier and Goodguys to help us discover and foster even more up-and-coming builders this year,” said Ira Gabriel, SEMA vice president of marketing, PR and communications. “We are excited to expand the SEMA Young Guns program and give younger enthusiasts who may not already have a vehicle at the 2018 SEMA Show an opportunity to network with industry leaders at the trade-only event.”
Regional Young Guns winners will compete alongside industry icons during the 2018 SEMA Battle of the Builders contest, which is the basis for a nationwide television special that will premiere on the Velocity Channel. New for 2018 is the recognition of an overall Young Guns winner from the Top 10 finalists chosen by industry judges.
To qualify for the Young Guns designation at each of the regional shows, a builder must be 27 or younger by the final night of the SEMA Show, November 2, and be registered at the participating regional show.
For more information, including a list of participating regional events, visit www.semashow.com/botb.