Each year, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, also known as SEMA, hosts a week-long show in Las Vegas. Automotive manufacturers and all of the high-profile aftermarket players in the customizing industry come out to talk among each other, share ideas, and plan their upcoming year of changes to the custom aftermarket parts arena. While this show is typically not open to the public, there are ways to get in. It usually helps if you are close to a SEMA member and can weasel your way into getting your hands on some tickets before the show.

In past years, the SEMA Show has been a monstrous display of everything custom that can be imagined. This year was no different, except for the obvious reduction in size of many of the participants at the event. The booths were smaller, and even with more than 900 vehicles on hand, there seemed to be fewer vehicles there for attendees to gawk over.

Even so, the quality of those vehicles that displayed the industry's hottest new trends was extremely high, many of which made their debut in Sin City that first week of November. There were vehicles there that have been seen nowhere else.

In the few years that the current MT staff has been attending the SEMA Show, there has always been a pervading type of vehicle that virtually took over the show. This year was different in this aspect as well. While the PT Cruiser was last year's big hit, and the Focus held that spot the year before, this year there was an even smattering of other vehicles. The Escape, outfitted by Colorado Custom for Ford Motor Company, really knocked our socks off.

As a representative for both OE and aftermarket companies, as well as being a voice in government as it relates to automotive customizing, SEMA has proven itself to be a viable source for companies besides the aftermarket and the OE.

Fabricators, distributors, restylers, car clubs, and others have come to depend on SEMA to both represent them and to provide them with pertinent industry information. For more information on SEMA or how to become involved with SEMA, visit www.SEMA.org.