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SEMA hosting competitions to give young customizers chance at Battle of the Builders


The Specialty Equipment Market Association will hold a series of contests for young custom car builders over the next several months that will give some of them a shot at entering the annual Battle of the Builders competition at the 2019 SEMA Show.

The nine regional contests will each feature a select 10 builders — or, as SEMA calls them, Young Guns — who are 27 or younger.

“Our goals are to discover new talent, promote vehicle customization to the younger generation and make the hobby accessible to more people,” Ira Gabriel, SEMA’s vice president of marketing, said in a news release.

The winner from each regional event will be given an expenses-paid trip for two to the 2019 SEMA Show, along with transportation of their vehicle and entry into the Battle of the Builders competition.

The first of the events will be held March 14-17 at TX2K19 at Houston Raceway Park in Texas.

“We’re excited to kick off the SEMA Young Guns Program at TX2K19,” Gabriel said. “TX2K19 represents a new partnership for the Young Guns Program and will allow us to reach a new group of young builders.”

In addition to Houston, SEMA will offer other events across the country:

  • • April 12 at Formula Drift in Long Beach, California
  • • May 10 at Formula Drift in Atlanta, Georgia
  • • June 21 at Street Machine Nationals in DuQuoin, Illinois
  • • July 19 at Formula Drift in Seattle, Washington
  • • July 19 at Street Machine Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • • July 28 at Tuner Evolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • • August 25 at Goodguys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton, California

Another event will take place August 20. SEMA was still working to determine where it would be as of Friday.

Those interested in entering the Houston competition have until March 8 to do so. Entries for all of the events can be submitted online.

Carter Nacke
Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.


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