SEMA 2016 Report

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By Mark Weisseg

When you go to a car show as big and as extensive as SEMA, you are bound to bump into a few celebrity types along the way. Celebrities they are, but also car lovers.

First we were wandering around outside and stumbled onto the Velocity set up. They were interviewing all kinds of people for future shows including Cristy Lee. She is a intelligent car person and knows her way around engines. She also knows motorcycles including older bikes. I wanted to talk to her about a stash of older Nortons, BSA’s and Triumphs I know of. The model I am next too arranged for me to get in the front of the line in order to get a word with her. Well, sure enough she comes off the stage and I ask for her. I explains my motives and give her a business card. She was as nice as can be.

The next celebrity was Dave Kingdig of Bitchin Rides. Always smiling and a great guy. We move along and saw Wayne Carini of Chasing Classic cars in a booth signing autographs. I posed for a picture with him and talked to him about how respectable his show is. He was as nice as I thought he might be.


So, we left the main building and when we got to the lobby I saw a gaggle of girls hanging around big Chris. He is the body guard and friend of Gas Monkey. I mentioned to him he looked big on TV and wanted to see if he was really that big. Now I am six foot three and 280 pounds so he would need to be big to impress me. Guess what? He’s big. Big and friendly. He was a very nice guy and he gave me some history on how he became such good friends with Richard and Dennis. Well, I figured if he was around the other two were close by. Sure enough they were about twenty feet away waiting on him! I called out to Richard who motioned me over. I asked for a handshake, a picture, and a word with them. They oblige but said they were already late for a booth signing session. I told Richard Rawlings I thought he was an American success story and he thanked me for the kind words. We snapped a picture and off they went. I told them I would see them in Scottsdale this January. With that thy were gone.

Next up was a real thrill. We made it to the booth area again and I finally met Wes Eisenchek who is an author and an owner of a 1969 Road Runner. He has written some great books over time relating to our industry and our cars. It was a pleasure to meet him face to face finally as I have done reviews on his work.


Next in the booth was Steve from Cartech books. He is the main man at Car Tech that sends me materials and such. It was great to pick his brain. Turns out they had dinner the previous night with Linda Vaughn. Now that would have been a thrill as I wanted to meet her but never saw her here. You must remember there is about four million square feet at SEMA so it’s easy to lose people. I saw the line forming to meet Richard Petty at 1pm. He was due at 3pm! And folks this was just the tip of the ice berg as we say.

The celebrities were everywhere signing cards, posing for pictures and doing what they do best. Promote. There was a SEMA guide book that told you when and where you could meet the people if you wanted to. I missed many but was satisfied with who we met.

So, if you have some burning desire to meet your TEE VEE Stars this was the place they were up close and personal with you. Just another reason in the hundreds to go to SEMA. All car fans at heart.

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