But of course everyone can't go, SEMA is not open to the public. I understand why, in the end it comes down to business. But even with it closed to the public there were still ~150,000 people there! Hearing that number however just doesn't give credence to the ridiculous size of the show. I was expecting it to be big, but it still blew my mind, over and over again. I've wanted to go to SEMA as long as I can remember and as much as I had built it up in my mind it still far exceeded my expectations. Everywhere you walk, everywhere you turn there are more amazing cars and more awesome people to meet. When they say you can't see all of SEMA in the 4 days of the show they're not kidding, it's literally impossible. But it's totally worth the exhaustion to try to see it all.
My story started a little rough. Getting to the show on the 31st I was beyond a bit worried. My company registration had not been approved, I hadn’t heard anything at all (I registered on the last day at the discounted price, about 2 weeks before the event). I booked non-refundable flights and hotel for my photographer friend Matt (@mattcphotos on IG) and I, banking on getting in. If there was an issue it was going to be a pretty good chunk of money down the drain. Going up to the desk I was worried that they were going to call me a fake and tell me to go home, what right did I have to be at SEMA? I just created my company this summer and didn’t even totally know what I was doing with it yet. Fortunately my fears were unfounded and after proving my company was automotive related they handed us our media passes and we were on our way. *huge sigh of relief*
Since we got to the convention center in the afternoon of the 31st we had a couple hours to look around and get lost before heading back to the hotel. If you didn’t know media attendees get extra hours before and after the show, presumably to get shots of the cars without 3,000 people around them. The after-hours were definitely helpful, any pictures of mine you see without people in them were during those times. The before hours were not helpful as we never made it that early in the morning (something something Vegas). First impressions were shocking, in 2 hours we saw more awesome cars than I’d see in an entire year (I live in North Carolina, hardly automotive mecca), and we had barely gotten into the show. Since I was still feeling apprehensive about being there early I didn’t post any pictures on the 31st, worrying that I’d step on someone’s toes. Matt and I went back to the hotel for a short few minutes before venturing out to see Vegas on Halloween. Meh, not that exciting from what we saw.
The next day was the first day of the show and it was awesome and confusing. I had been checking the floor plan out for 2 weeks and thought I had a handle on what was where, but once I was there it all went out the window. Everything was bigger than I thought and there was just way more to see than I could have expected. There were a ton of cars outside, which I hadn’t noticed on the floor plan. I still wasn't totally sure where everything was so Matt and I just started walking around, shooting pics/video of everything we could. Everywhere we looked was something awesome and incredibly diverse. A slammed and heavily modded Gallardo next to a classic Porsche next to a jacked up truck next to some custom car I couldn't even identify. For someone that has grown up loving cars but has never been around a bunch of awesome cars like this it was heaven.
The next few days were basically Matt and I trying to cover everything we could. We ended up taking over 1TB of 4k video and photos (that's a lot for non-computer nerds). I definitely learned that mapping things out and sticking to that is a good idea, as I ended up missing some cars that I wish I hadn't missed and saw several areas too many times because I was lost and trying to find another section. You really should be preparing for this a month in advance instead of just flying out and winging it. My attempts to look at the map beforehand were fairly useless since I had never been and had no idea what to expect. Next year it'll be different and I'll be more prepared.
The Vorsteiner modified 570S is a perfect representation of SEMA, totally overboard and seriously awesome!
Next year will also be different because I hope to be exhibiting a car. Can't say too much yet, I'll be making an announcement on that soon though. If I exhibit though it will mean I won't be able to walk the whole show, but hopefully I'll have some people to go with that will help me film things. As for the car... it will be quite a project and I'm hoping you'll follow along with it. The ultimate goal is to get hooked in with some charities that are close to me and help change some lives as I want this project/car to represent more than just a build. But as I said, more details soon. Have a little patience and I think you guys will like where this goes.
For now though you can check out the VR video I made of SEMA 2016 here: tinyurl.com/z296aex I'll also have more SEMA videos done in the next few weeks (holidays are going to make things difficult). The rest of my favorite SEMA pics are below, enjoy!