Q: What happens when you get...
Q: What happens when you get a bunch of Chinese businessmen together with a mini-trucker taking bribes?
A: You get Mike Alexander slamming a 16-ounce glass of 15-year-old scotch like it was Arrowhead Spring water for $110.
Result: It just ain't pretty, man.
As you can tell by the wording on the cover of this month's Mini Truckin', this is our SEMA Show special issue. Inside, you'll find coverage from the automotive aftermarket's premier event in Las Vegas, as well as some of the hottest new products we saw at the show that are bound to give your custom truck project the boost over the top that it truly deserves.
I'm not going to use my column this month to hype the SEMA Show, however. I'm going to use it to talk about a week that is spent looking forward to what happens after the show closes down each night, and the fun that's had as industry leaders and business owners, as well as employees, head out to the hot spots to make their bonds of friendship stronger than ever.
Mike Alexander and I arrived in Vegas the day after the event began. Since we're a small staff, we had to cram pages in for this issue before we could jump into my truck and head up I-15 toward Sin City. For the second day of the show, and our first day there, we dressed in our nifty MT-embroidered "cowboy" shirts. We hit the floor, covering as much area as we could with cameras in hand, before checking into our Hilton hotel room next door to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Soon after, we met up with Sammy Chu from VIAIR, who had invited us to dinner the previous year. (When we met Sammy for dinner last year, I found out first-hand why its not good to mix fine wine with 15-year-old whiskey.) Luckily, I was in more control of my beverage consumption this time and didn't feel the need to have to apologize throughout the year to my friend (an advertiser's wife) for showering her with blessings.
The dinner went off without a hitch, and some good friendships were initiated and renewed. I hung out with Dave Sanchez, the owner of WEC Air Systems, as well as representatives from Air Lift Company, Mac's Spring, a bunch of crazy German guys, and Sammy and his entourage of Chinese businessmen - some of the funnest guys to hang out with I've ever met.
A certain person and his date were also there, whom I'd never had the chance to meet but had always wanted to. I struck up a conversation with Brian Gillespie from Cool Cars and his lovely date Sahara, which lasted hours. We talked for so long that I tagged along with them to the DUB Party, and the rest of the night became a blur. Man, I don't even like rap music, but I had a pretty damn good time with Brian and Sahara. God knows what time we got out of there, but your faithful Mini Truckin' staff managed to crawl out of our hotel beds the next the morning, grab something to eat (kinda), and make it back onto the floor of the SEMA Show.
Over the next two days, we saw plenty of products, gathered ideas for upcoming tech articles, and made some pretty interesting plans as to what the next year of Mini Truckin' will have in store for its eager readers. While I never got the chance to visit the world-famous Circle Bar at the Hard Rock this year (it's a mini-trucker haven every night of the show), I can't say that my liver missed it a whole hell of a lot. True to each year at SEMA, we had a great time, gathered tons of information and material for the magazine, and can't wait to see what 2005 will bring for mini-trucks in general. In our next issue, you'll see one of the trucks we shot at SEMA as out cover feature; finally, a truck the industry recognizes that's not fullsize. It's a Colorado, and you'll only see it here in all its award-winning glory.
Instead of teasing you with something you can't see until next month, though, start flipping through the pages of this month's MT. I'm sure you'll find plenty to whet your appetite. Until next month, remember: Beer before liquor, never sicker. Oh, and Mike will let you know first-hand that being the poster boy for Pepto-Bismol and Alka Seltzer sucks big time. L8R!