Goodguys will send winner of youth car-building program to SEMA Show

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The winner of Goodguys Custom & Rod Association's Youngguys program will win a trip to this year's SEMA Show. | Goodguys photo
The winner of Goodguys Custom & Rod Association's Youngguys program will win a trip to this year's SEMA Show. | Goodguys photo

For the first time in its 35-year history, the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s youth car-building program, Youngguys, will send its winner to the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, an official said.

“We wanted to take our Youngguys program to a higher level… and make it a little bigger thing to bring them to SEMA,” Ed Capen, Goodguys’ vice president of sales and sponsorship, told the ClassicCars.com Journal.

The Youngguys program is open to builders who are 25 years or age or younger and who performed at least some of the work on the vehicle themselves. Capen said Goodguys founder, the late Gary Meadors, came up with the idea to get more young people involved in hot rods and car customization.

“It’s always helped to bring interest to the younger people,” Capen said. “It’s usually a son or a daughter of somebody that’s already into the Goodguys car show scene, but it’s a great way of keeping them involved with it and getting the younger generation to come to the event.”

The eventual winner of the SEMA trip will be chosen from a pool of builders attending at Goodguys events. Caper said the contest to attend the 2019 SEMA Show began at the Colorado Nationals in September. The SEMA Show is held annually in late October/early November

A winner from each Goodguys show will be placed into the finalist pool, from which a panel of judges will select the person to win the SEMA prize, which includes travel, hotel and shipping costs for their project car, which will be displayed at the Goodguys booth.

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The winner at each show will be selected through a combination of social media and input from Youngguys sponsor Goolsby Customs and Goodguys.

“We actually talk to the kids and get what they’ve done, what they’ve built on it, what they’ve had help with and that type of deal,” Caper said. “Sometimes these cars won’t be pretty. Sometimes they will be in rough shape because they’re slowly progressing on these cars.”

Caper offered some tips for those looking to get a leg up on the competition at the regional Goodguys shows.

“Write as much information down on the windshield card letting us know what you’ve done and how it’s been done,” he said. “When somebody comes up to ask you about it… talk to them.

“Let them know what you’ve done and answer the questions they’re asking you because that’s another part about this. You have to be engaging. You have to be able to be well-spoken and stuff because we want people at SEMA to be able to talk to the audience and talk about their car and present themselves.”

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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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