SEMA Turns 50

Recapping the annual show

August 2014 Feature Brady L. Kay

     When the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) began in 1963 with a small group of manufacturers who were suppliers of performance equipment, they couldn’t possibly have envisioned how fast this association was going to grow or how popular its annual show would become.
     The 2013 SEMA Show is officially history now and in its 50th year it left no doubt that the automotive specialty-equipment industry is stronger than ever. While final attendance figures are still being audited, organizers report that more than 126,000 credentials were issued prior to the event, with thousands more processed onsite. The numbers represented a seven percent increase over the previous year, and the highest in SEMA Show history.?On the Show floor were 2,381 exhibiting companies representing all facets of the automotive industry, including the ever-growing truck segment that includes of course diesel-specific products and equipment.
Countless awards were also given out at the November show that was held in Las Vegas, Nev., including the SEMA Award for the top trending vehicles in four categories where the Ford F-Series won the Hottest Truck award.
     The crew from Diesel Tech magazine looks forward to this show each year as we pound the pavement in search of companies and products that fit within our specific niche in the diesel truck industry.
     Being a SEMA member, as well as regulars at this show, it’s been rewarding to see the growth and recognition of diesel trucks over the years. Large manufacturers like Toyo Tires who created its Treadpass this year—a passageway connecting the Central and South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center with rows of customized vehicles—included several diesel trucks in its display. In fact, everywhere you looked you were sure to find  plenty of Power Strokes, Cummins and Duramax trucks spread out in the different halls and parking lots of this massive show that is now starting to spill over into nearby hotels.
Included in this roundup are cool trucks that we took notice of as well as products that we feel would be of interest to our readers. For more information on SEMA visit

Weigh Safe
The Best New Tools & Equipment innovation award went to Leap Innovations for its Weigh Safe, a trailer hitch scale that measure tongue weight. Kevin McAllister (center) stands with Nate Shelton (L) and SEMA President Christopher Kersting after receiving the award.     


A lot of truck wheels were on display, including a sneak peek at what BMF Wheels is releasing in 2014.


Assistant Editor Michael Deulley (L) stands with actor R. Lee Ermey, best known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Ermey is a retired U.S. Marine and an honorary Gunnery Sergeant; during his tenure in the U.S. Marine Corps, he served as a drill instructor.


During his presentation at the Ford booth, Gene Simmons, also known as The Demon from his days as the bass guitarist/co-lead vocalist of the hard rock band KISS, encouraged the crowd to use their phones to help promote his fundraiser with the automotive giant with his wife Shannon Tweed-Simmons.  


Former Dallas Cowboy legend Ed “Too Tall” Jones stands with Editor Brady Kay at the BKT Tires booth.


At the Premier Performance booth, the new Rigid Industries grille was on display. Rigid won an innovation award in the Best New Exterior Accessory Product category for its FX4 Grille for Super Duty trucks.


Bulldog LED Lighting was showing off the strength of its lights by parking a truck on one of them (behind the girl in case you missed it).


Looking for a quick way to customize your wheels? The Faceplate Series from American Force Wheels allows you to easily change your look. The wheel comes with three unfinished aluminum plates that you paint so you can dial in the exact colors you want.

Sleds Only SEMA could make it possible for you to find snowmobiles in Las Vegas.

Line X 

Willie Robertson from the hit show Duck Dynasty stopped by the Line-X booth to promote the manufacturer’s new Truck Gear line.

The Duck Commander owner took a moment to pose for some photos with the Line-X crew before signing autographs for his fans.

A large crowd turned out to meet Willie Robertson, who had to be escorted into the show by two security officers.   

Bully Dog

Bully Dog had its new PMT2 unit on display, along with the rest of its tuners and products.

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