In an effort to recognize young talent and foster the future growth of the automotive aftermarket industry, the 2018 SEMA Young Guns Regional Program will provide car builders aged 27 and younger an opportunity to showcase their vehicles at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in October.
Since its inception in 2016, more than 130 Young Gun builders have taken part in the vehicle-build competition. Many of these builders have become professional car builders. And it all started by participating in the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition.
“Young Guns is a strategic initiative to build excitement and involvement among younger builders in our industry,” said SEMA chairman of the board Wade Kawasaki. “We’ve been very pleased with the reception to the program so far, and we’re thrilled to build upon its success.”
In 2017 SEMA 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 SEMA vice president of marketing, PR and communications Ira Gabriel. “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 2018 SEMA Show, transportation of the winner’s vehicle, entry into the Battle of the Builders competition, and a designated feature spot at the Show, a unique benefit reserved exclusively for exhibitors. 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 Goodguys vice president of sales and sponsorship Ed Capen. “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 2018 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, Nov. 2, 2018, and must be registered at the participating regional show.