The SEMA Crunch

Power Stroke shines in Vegas

December 2016 Build, Feature, PowerStroke DT Staff

“The SEMA Crunch is real,” Paul Dishaw stated as a matter of fact, summarizing his experience with both a sense of pride and exhaustion. Paul is the owner and builder of a SEMA truck that debuted at the 2014 show, and it was impossible not to enjoy his relaxed demeanor and the enthusiasm he had for the show and his build. But it wasn’t easy, nor was it without trial and hard work.

"I saw the opportunity to work on a Power Stroke and seized the initiative before the window closed." - Paul Dishaw

Paul’s 2014 Sterling Grey F250 Super Duty Lariat 4x4 was different from numerous other trucks on display as he and his wife Danielle drove it from their home in Richmond, Texas, to Las Vegas, Nev. While there are hundreds of trucks and other vehicles on display at the show, only a very select few are both show trucks and daily drivers, and Paul had built one that was both. In fact, Paul used his Power Stroke to tow another SEMA truck to the convention, from Phoenix, Ariz.

“I never intended to build a SEMA truck,” Paul confessed. It happened as his life took shape soon after moving to Texas from Michigan. In Michigan, Paul was a friend of Mike Halas of Hallas Performance, mastermind behind the 1950 Ford F4 that Diesel Tech featured in June of 2013, and learned a lot from him.

Meeting Mike had a profound effect on Paul and shaped his desire to build. “I’m a truck builder, not a truck buyer,” Paul stated.

In Michigan, according to Paul, performance build trucks rule with upgrades and aftermarket products intended to increase the horsepower, towing and hauling capabilities of the truck. However, in the warmer climes of Texas, where the truck owner does not have to battle snow and ice half of the year, the focus of most builds is external.

“When we first arrived in Texas, our truck didn’t attract a lot of attention at shows,” Paul recalled. Paul knew he could build a better truck, and from that observation, his idea for a SEMA truck was born.

Five Different Builds

As mentioned, Paul is a builder. In August of 2014, he opened the doors to his own shop, Rollin Out Performance, in Brookshire, Texas. In January of 2014, when Paul purchased the truck, he was no stranger to work and planning a build. In fact, Paul’s SEMA truck was his fifth build truck.

The first truck Paul built was a 2004 Dodge Cummins, in which Paul and Mike Halas did all of the work and upgrades. His second truck was a 2012 Cummins that was nothing too extreme and was focused more on the appearance of the truck than performance. His third build was not a truck, but a Shelby GT500; for this build Paul replaced the intake, tuner and exhaust, which attained an impressive 662hp when completed. The fourth build was a 2006 Mega Cab Cummins, where Paul replaced the exhaust and intake, customized the tuning, and added lifts, custom wheels and more.

"I’m a truck builder, not a truck buyer." - Paul Dishaw

With the experience of his previous builds, and inspired by the trucks he competed against in Texas, Paul embarked on his SEMA build.

When asked why—after three successful Cummins builds—he would shift gears and tackle a different make, Paul said, “I saw the opportunity to work on a Power Stroke and seized the initiative before the window closed.”

The Official Sponsor

At the outset of the build, Paul knew his Lariat needed to be more than a show princess; he needed a truck that could perform … a truck that after SEMA would be his daily driver and work truck. With that in mind, he planned the truck to both turn heads in appearance, but also be able to tow.

In January, Paul was not thinking SEMA, rather he was focused on building a truck for the shop he was planning to open later that year and, considering his location and the local passion for shiners over pullers, the first changes were cosmetic. The first change Paul tackled was adding an 8-inch Pure Performance 4 link long arm coilover suspension, giving the truck a higher stance. Paul added Atlas leaf springs for both appearance and towing benefits, and sat the truck on top of custom wheels and 37 X 13.50 Toyo MT. By the time Paul pulled into Vegas, he had changed his wheels into new 24 X 14 Hostile Exiles with a 76mm offset—which, as of SEMA, are still unreleased to the general public. To help people enter the truck, Paul added AMP Research steps. The truck was fit with MGP caliper covers, and during this stage of the build, Paul also took time and custom painted his axles.

With the suspension, wheels and tires finished, Paul did not proceed much further on his truck until he decided to build a SEMA truck.

With SEMA on the horizon, Paul created a call list of different manufacturers and potential sponsors. Most of the companies Paul and Danielle contacted were cold calls. Their message to these potential sponsors was simple, “I wanted to prove myself; I wanted to prove my truck.”

After the calls, Paul’s official sponsor to SEMA was Retrax bed covers. To ensure his place at the show, Paul paid for his own entry fee for his truck. However, once he secured his place at the show, Paul and Danielle leveraged their guaranteed location at SEMA to earn other official sponsors, kicking off the build into full swing.

The SEMA Crunch

Paul locked his truck into SEMA four months before the show, and with a host of new sponsors, Paul’s truck began to shape up. Throughout the entire experience, Paul knew what he wanted on his truck and had already planned to add to his ride.

Working with the overall cosmetics of the truck, Paul added custom F250 badges, painted tailgate emblems, RECON LED mirror lights, custom projector headlights, and full LED interior lighting. Paul installed Assault LED Underbody Lights for added effect when rollin’ his truck. Paul and Danielle also painted the interior of the truck to finish off the unified look and to ensure no detail was missed. For when Paul needs or wants to announce the presence of his truck, he added a Train Horn Kit by HornBlasters.

Paul installed a 50-gallon midship Titan Fuel Tank, which he noted was extremely beneficial on the long drive from Texas to Nevada. Front and back Hellwig sway bars were also installed and Undercover SwingCases were also added to the bed of the truck for their utility, along with BedRug’s BedTred Pro truck bed for protection.

Paul’s excitement to be at SEMA was matched only by his gratitude to his sponsors. He mentioned he made it a point to meet with every single one of his sponsors, face-to-face, while at the show, and to thank them for their contributions to his build.

Paul’s sponsors include Retrax—his official sponsor covered his bed with a Pro Bed Cover; BOLT Locks—manufacturer of hood locks, hitch locks, and other products; ODYSSEY Battery; SCRUBBLADE windshield wiper blades; and a KICKER audio system adorns the interior.

Under the hood remains largely untouched; however, Paul has installed an Airaid MXP Cold Air Intake to increase the performance of his truck, especially when hauling heavier loads. Paul has also added an H&S Performance Tuner. A FLO~PRO Performance Exhaust was added to increase the exhaust flow and overall performance of the engine.

Rough Cut Fabrication

One of the most distinctive aspects of Paul’s Lariat, though—even considering the extensive and articulate detailed appearance modifications—is his front bumper and grille. On a casual glance, Paul’s bumper appears rather ordinary; it is a stock bumper, after all. However, working in connection with Rough Cut Fabrications’ Cody Rice, a gifted welder, the bumper has a perfect cutout with two curved 40-inch LED light bars. Cody also customized the stock grille with dual radius 40-inch light bars.

Cody’s signature work is clearly seen, especially in a side-by-side comparison, because the light bars fit flush and secure into both the grille and the bumper. Atop Paul’s truck are two dual 56-inch roof light bars, with custom brackets designed and made by Cody. Cody’s work is unparalleled and he is turning heads with his talented work.

The Settled Dust

SEMA is a four-day event, officially launching on a Tuesday morning and ending the following Friday afternoon with the SEMA Cruise at the close of the show. At the 2014 event, Paul’s truck rolled out of the Las Vegas Convention Center right at nightfall with his custom light bars illuminating the crowd that was on hand to watch the over 360 other cars and trucks exiting SEMA.

“The dream is real. It was a hard chase, but if you work hard enough, you can achieve your dreams.” - Paul Dishaw

Just weeks after the show, Paul is already working on his sixth build, and who knows? Maybe it will be a SEMA truck at the 2015 show.  







AMP Research



Assault LED Lighting



Atlas Suspension






BOLT Locks






H&S Performance



Hellwig Products






Hostile Wheels






MGP Caliper Covers






Pure Performance



RECON Truck Accessories






Rollin Out Performance



Rough Cut Fabrications









Titan Fuel Tanks



Toyo Tires


  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up
You Might Also Be Interested In...

Send to your friends!



Recapping the Vegas Show

Sneak Peek

Already a subscriber? Please check your email for the latest full issue link.