SEMA 2021 – Event Overview
The Gateway Bronco team was excited to be part of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA 2021) annual Las Vegas Show from Tuesday, November 2 through Friday, Nov. 5. After the team being cancelled in 2020, the trade-only show brought manufacturers and buyers back together to experience the latest vehicle customization innovations. SEMA said it was the largest North American automotive trade show since the pandemic in 2020.
With no SEMA show in 2020, expectations were high for this year. While some still had trepidation about venturing to the huge in person show, many understood the importance of meeting in person, seeing the latest innovations and sharing the amazing evolutions taking place in the industry.
More than 100,000 attendees, exhibitors, and media participated in the first full-facility event at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which includes 4.6 million square feet of convention space and an additional 2.2 million square feet of outdoor space. And those people certainly reaped great rewards.
“The industry was clearly excited to be back in person at the SEMA Show, both to capture business opportunities and to network and celebrate the world’s greatest collection of innovation on wheels,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “Our industry was waiting to reconnect, and the SEMA Show was a welcome homecoming after nearly two years apart.”
As the first, large automotive trade show in North America since the pandemic, auto manufacturers launched new vehicles, exhibitors showed off their latest innovations and celebrities unveiled high-profile restyles. Some of these included:
- Comedian Jay Leno helped unveil a 1969 Ford Mustang restoration for singer Keith Urban in the Ford exhibit
- Actor Sung Kang unveiled his Datsun 240z “Safari” in the Nissan booth
- Ant Anstead, host of Celebrity IOU: Joyride, showcased a custom 1962 Buick that was converted into an electric car in collaboration with actor James Marsden
Other SEMA Show highlights included the largest collection of Chip Foose-built vehicles featured in a special corral that highlighted some of the most influential and important vehicles created at Foose Design, a display of over 50 off-road racing vehicles ranging from motorcycles to trophy trucks in SCORE’s Baja 1000 Experience and interactive driving demos in the Hoonigan Burnyard Bash and the Ford Out Front experience.
Trending at this year’s SEMA Show was electrification and electrified vehicles. Whether it was a modification for a new electric vehicle or the ability to modify an ICE vehicle with a new electric motor, exhibitors and builders demonstrated that the EV market is a growing segment for the aftermarket.
While the show emphasized electrification, displays were still dominated by internal combustion engine powered vehicles. With Gateway Bronco firmly in both camps, the company was high profile at the show.
“SEMA 2021 was a great opportunity to meet key partners like Ford Performance, Legacy EV, JRi, Hagerty and Eaton, as well as roll out some of our latest builds,” explained Seth Burgett, CEO of Gateway Bronco. “Eaton showcased our ‘72 Ford F-350 with a 1,000 horsepower Godzilla V8 topped by their supercharger and their ELocker front and rear differentials. Our LUXE-GT Electric Classic Ford Bronco was the centerpiece of the Legacy EV exhibit, which demonstrated the other end of our lineup. Though both were very different, the response to both vehicles was amazing.”
Pictured above L to R: Seth Burgett (CEO, Gateway Bronco), Rob Ward (CEO, Legacy EV),
Jeff Ryan (Technical Dir./Partner, JRi Shocks), Kash Singh (Marketing Manager, Ford Performance Enthusiast)
Gateway Bronco was featured in many show highlight media stories after the week, with scores of journalists attending the two press conferences headlined by CEO Seth Burgett. He was also in great demand for interviews by top outlets throughout the show.
“SEMA is so much more than enjoying the hottest builds,” added Burgett. “We used the week to reconnect with the people shaping the industry. While at the annual Shelby SEMA party, we met with Shelby American’s president Gary Patterson and spoke with instructors from Northeast Texas Community College, where we recruit interns. We also saw Shelby board member Aaron Shelby and convened with Ford engineers. At the show, we reviewed the latest trends and news with execs from almost every aspect of the auto industry, including the media. It was a tremendous couple of days in the desert that will continue to pay dividends for both Gateway Bronco and our ultimately our clients. We’re excited to translate our new ideas into even more ambitious vehicles for enthusiasts worldwide.”
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