SEMA Seeks Up-and-Coming Vehicle Builders

SEMA’s latest effort to recognize young talent and foster the future growth of the aftermarket industry involves bolstering the 2018 SEMA Young Guns Regional Program. SEMA will provide car builders age 27 or younger throughout the country an opportunity to showcase their vehicle at the SEMA Show, set for Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 in Las Vegas.

More than 130 Young Guns builders have taken part in the vehicle-build competition since its inception in 2016. Many of these young builders have gotten a boost toward becoming professional car builders by participating in the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition, according to the association.

“Young Guns is a strategic initiative to build excitement and involvement among younger builders in our industry,” said Wade Kawasaki, SEMA chairman of the board. “We’ve been very pleased with the reception to the program so far, and we’re thrilled to build upon its success.”

SEMA in 2017 partnered with regional car shows to seek hidden talent and emerging stars. This year the association will help 14 up-and-coming builders-up from six builders in 2017-jump-start their careers with a trip to the 2018 SEMA Show to compete in SEMA Battle of the Builders.

“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 & 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.”

Thirteen winners will be recognized from select regional events and will receive a Young Guns prize package that includes an all-expenses paid trip for two to the SEMA Show, transportation of the winner’s vehicle, entry into the Battle of the Builders competition, and a designated feature spot at the show. Additionally, a 14th winner will be selected via an online fan vote from many of the participating venues.

“Goodguys is always looking to bring the youth into our industry, and joining with SEMA has helped push our current Young Guys program to a new level,” said Ed Capen, Goodguys vice president of sales & sponsorship. “We look forward to this continued relationship to help bring more awareness though the next generation of enthusiasts.”

Regional Young Guns winners will compete alongside industry icons during the 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 on Nov. 2, and must be registered at the participating regional show.

For more information, including a list of participating regional events, visit

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