Wow! How many times did I simply have to catch my breath & just breathe that one word while at SEMA Show 2010 just a few short weeks ago? It was such a breath of fresh air! I was honored with the opportunity to participate in handing out free lunches to the exhibitors on Sunday & Monday during booth set up. In reality, I think it might have been my favorite part of the show. The appreciation they showed for us taking the time to reach out, get to know them, and advise how to best take advantage of their show experience was tremendous.
But better than all that, the spirit of hope I witnessed when talking to members as they discussed the turnarounds their business were experiencing, and the excitement with which they looked forward to ushering in 2011 was awesome. And then on Tuesday, opening day of the show, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet about 35 kids from a group called Hot Rodder’s of Tomorrow, vying for top spots as the best team to tear down & rebuild an engine during its specified timeframe. These kids were so pumped & so passionate about the aftermarket, I just had to take a deep, deep breath & say to myself …the tide has turned.
We had approximately 100,000 attendees from over 100 countries at this, the world’s largest automotive trade show. In the latter part of the week, I was at a reception for one of the industries councils where I heard SEMA President & CEO Chris Kersting say that we were within something like 50 or so buyer attendees in setting an historical record of buyers EVER at the Las Vegas SEMA Show! How Awesome is that?
For the record, this was my 26th SEMA Show in a row, and I have to say probably one of the most exciting I can ever remember attending. So as president of my own aftermarket business, as a member of the SEMA Board of Directors, and as one of many who call this industry home, I say a big thanks to all of you who hunkered down, and helped each other weather the storms. Tomorrow’s forecast looks awfully bright.