2008 SEMA Show - Feature

>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some freed slaves after the Civil War were given 40 acres and a mule. Beleaguered auto writers are sent every November to Las Vegas to slog through 46 acres of sensory-popping SEMA terrain. They'd kill for a mule.

As the annual gathering of about 2000 of the Specialty Equipment Market Association's member companies in the automotive-aftermarket industry approaches, whining is rampant among the media. It isn't SEMA's fault. The show is by all measurements a huge success—even in an off year such as 2008, which drew 1971 exhibitors and 104,000 attendees by SEMA's count, down about 15 percent from 2007.

If it can be screwed, glued, wired, or riveted to a car or a truck or a Hummer after it leaves the factory, you can find it at SEMA, often being fondled by booth nymphs clad in black vinyl hot pants. Our dread—paradoxical, it must seem—is born from eight-hour days spent trudging up and down aisles lined with chromed carburetors, polished wheels, plastic wings, and electronic doodads of every conceivable purpose and mega pixel count, looking for elusive morsels of news. It has an annoying resemblance to real work.

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