Joining the Crowds at SEMA

The Las Vegas Convention Center, inside and out, was the site of the 2019 SEMA Show.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Car Lovers, car builders, car suppliers and car celebrities all were in town last week for the SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This is a show for folks who want to restore or restyle their rides. They are artists who decorate vehicles, mechanics who can rebuild motors, and folks who simply want to add a few automotive extras to make their friends jealous. LOTS of folks like the idea of building and personalizing cars, and SEMA is their show.

A sister show, AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) is held at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, and we did not attend that show, though most visitors shuttled between the two shows.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) annual show (the show with the most personalized vehicles on display) draws an estimated 160,000-plus automotive enthusiasts from 140 different countries. In addition to walking the show floor, attendees can attend a number of special events and competitions and some 100 educational seminars.

To help folks get around, a colorful (and frameable) map by was included with the show directory.

Security is tight at SEMA, as is parking, so this reporter parked at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino and hopped a 10:30 a.m. shuttle to the convention site. Sadly, the return buses weren’t scheduled to depart until after 3 p.m., so I tested my comfortable footwear with a good deal of standing waiting for a return shuttle. Obviously the folks at SEMA are sure that attendees will at least attend four hours of the show every day; hence the bus schedule.

SEMA Show attendees had a chance to win this pretty blue corvette.
Photo by Diane Taylor

However, SEMA is always interesting, and I saw some gorgeous one-of-a-kind cars and trucks and met some nice folks (on the buses and on a bench when I finally found a place to sit). The vehicles on display (some 1500 of them) were spectacular and 2400 exhibiting companies on hand occupied the entire Las Vegas Convention Center (parking lots included). The show is so large that the convention center offered some 60 different places where attendees could purchase food.

As I mention (too often, I think) I am not an automotive enthusiast (other than having a car with few mechanical problems), but I still enjoy melding into the SEMA crowds.

You will see what I saw at SEMA in the attached video.


4 responses on “Joining the Crowds at SEMA

  1. Thanks for making my day as I love the cars shows but unable to walk the walk. Great coverage of these gorgeous unique autos, trucks and campers. Loved the race of the Ford instructors with an upfront view.

  2. What a great video! Your comments were well understood by many us who love the colors, styles and beauty of clean, revamped, fancied-up vehicles…..while not really “into” the mechanics or parts that make them. Thanks for doing all that walking to bring us to the car show!!

  3. I loved your video and commentary. Did not realize how many people attended the show. Not sure I would be up to the Ford cars racing. I love cars and found video interesting.

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