Truckin Editors Note - Sema-Cide - And Finally
Editor's Note:This is our monthly column with Dan, Sean, Mark, and Harley rotating every four issues. Stay tuned for each editor's unique ramblings.
Earlier this month, the Truckin' staff made its annual expedition to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show, where the automotive aftermarket displayed an army of upgrades and innovations. This event is a huge undertaking for our parent company, since most of our automotive magazines cover the aftermarket to some extent. That being the case, we have to attack the show with a certain amount of coordination not quite akin to the Normandy Invasion but certainly more rewarding than the Charge of the Light Brigade. Once the Primedia mothership dropped us like a bomb on the Las Vegas Convention Center, our staffers ricocheted throughout the show like shrapnel in search of exciting products and ideas that would inspire you for the coming year.
We were very busy at this show, so much so that I hardly bumped into anybody else from the magazine. Case in point, I saw our freshly anointed Feature Editor Dan Ward only once when we passed each other on escalators. I was going up, as he was going down, and he said, "The press conference is over there," then he disappeared behind me. I had no idea what he was talking about, but that is nothing new. He grew up around Savannah, Georgia, and talks like he's chewing red clay with a sweet tea chaser. I'm from the Miami area, the only place south of the Mason-Dixon Line, where people grow up speaking with a New York accent. I might pretend that he and I share some kind of connection as former residents of states that were part of the Old Confederacy, but who am I kidding? As far as Dan is concerned, I'm a Yankee with a tan. As it is, we do share a deep and abiding respect for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, something that only Southerners would understand.
Our veteran Feature Editor Travis Noack's newfound center of his universe was his freshly minted, old-style Chevy pickup displayed in the Auto Air Colors booth. A suh-weet ride built by Hill's Hot Rods. They kept the design of the truck under wraps until the SEMA Show, worrying him with the fear that the truck might not be done in time. They had him sitting on the razor edge of anticipation and one phone call away from teetering over into the abyss. It's a miracle that he was able to keep together long enough to get any work done, but he did.
Bob Ryder ghosted the show in the wee hours, at about the time others rolled into bed. He got up at 4 a.m. to take pictures of the booths and trucks that dressed the show floor like presents under an automotive Christmas tree. That was way too early for those of us who like to sleep, but it's not like Bob sleeps - he snores. He doesn't just saw logs; it sounds like he chews on them, chokes, and spits them out. No doubt the only time he got any peace and quiet was when he was awake, treading the pre-dawn halls of SEMA.
Sean Holman made his rounds at the show with occasional appearances at the Primedia booth, leaving behind a trail of jokes in the same way a puppy dog lays landmines: It's funnier to watch him drop his ordnance on someone else, than it is when he swings his cannons at you. He's a smart, ambitious guy, though, and recently earned the nomenclature of Road Test Editor.
As for Harley, SEMA is a week-long, boy's night out. He's relatively new to the mag but not to the industry, so he knows everybody: customizers, manufacturers, doormen, bartenders, and the desk sergeant at the Clark County jail. He and I drove to Las Vegas together in a rental. You don't realize how many other late-model Impalas there are until you drive one. We passed a few on I-15, parked next to Impalas three different times, and even mistook one for our own - which led to a frustrating episode where I began to strip down the key fob to see if something was wrong with the keyless entry as Harley stood ready to pry the car's door open with a tire iron until we finally clued in. We pushed the rev limiter a few times, but the cops never noticed us. The Impala's non-descript design wrapped around us like a cloak of mediocrity that deflected radar waves toward the sexier Corvettes and Mercedes that we zoomed by. Yes, the '04 Impala: Chevy's answer to the Pentagon's stealth bomber.
All in all, this was a good show. You have already seen in this issue some of what we noticed at SEMA, with more to come in the future in the form of features and installs. Until then, we'll keep the industry in our sights.