It’s a week-long grind, it’s long days and nights, it’s more photographs than we normally take the rest of the year. It’s also the place where we do business, find trends, see beautiful rides, become acquainted with the newest items coming to the market, and where we can maybe cut loose with friends and acquaintances we’ve made over the years. Las Vegas is always on the calendar right at the end of October and the first week of November and in a sense, it’s our mark of the season end before we dive into the holidays and winter. The SEMA show means a lot not only to us, but to the automotive world in general. Yeah, it’s a madhouse like you wouldn’t believe, a car show crossed with a circus crossed with New York City subway foot traffic. But it’s a destination nonetheless, and in a message mailed out to everyone who might have a reason to go, SEMA outlined what we figured would happen:
“SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, announced today that due to Covid-19 and concerns that event facilities and services will be unavailable, the SEMA Show will not be taking place in 2020.
While both event organizers and industry members have been working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding SEMA Show in November, mounting uncertainty has rendered continuing with the event inadvisable. SEMA expects the decision will bring much needed clarity to an uncertain picture and will help exhibitors, attendees and partners plan accordingly.
Recent SEMA Show survey results indicated interest in a possible virtual tradecshow with related live elements. SEMA will be working with industry members to determine interest levels on specific alternatives.
“The SEMA Show is committed to furthering businesses in the automotive specialty equipment market, and to providing manufacturers and buyers with the best opportunity to connect, promote new products and discover new trends,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “We appreciate the spirit, hard work and innovation our industry puts into the SEMA Show each year. While we are disappointed circumstances prevent us from hosting the Show in November, we look forward to getting everyone together in 2021 for another outstanding event.”
I have two mindsets to this. The rational mindset is that this is the safest, most prudent decision that could be made given the circumstances. Regardless of how large the Las Vegas Convention Center’s footprint is and how many implementations could be enforced, the numbers of vendors that register alone would create havoc with social distancing. Now take into account the actual amount of buyers present, press present, and foot traffic roaming in and out all day, all week. Not a good thing. In past years we’ve come home with the “SEMA flu”, but the last thing we need to come home with is COVID-19.
My irrational mindset? That’s easy:
Ten years ago I met the woman who is now my wife. I had plans, dammit. Plans that involved expensive steak, cars, and time away from the rest of the world. Grrr…guess we’ll have to make up for it next year properly.