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SEMA Vs. Intermountain Snowmobile Show

Published online: Jan 01, 2007 Column LANE LINDSTROM
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I just got back from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas where I spent two full days walking and gawking.

The SEMA show was the week following the Intermountain Snowmobile Show, which, as many of you know, is sponsored by SnoWest Magazine. We were at the SEMA show because of one of our newest projects, Diesel Tech Magazine. The SEMA show is all about aftermarket products from hop ups to tires to, well, everything to do with a car, truck or SUV.

Just about the entire time I was at the SEMA show, I couldn't help but compare certain aspects of that show with the Intermountain Snowmobile Show in South Jordan, UT.

The SEMA show is just a tad bigger than the snow show in South Jordan. Here are a few facts and figures that illustrate just that.

The SEMA show attracts more than 125,000 people. A little more than 6,000 snowmobile enthusiasts came to this year's Intermountain Snowmobile Show. The SEMA show takes place in the Las Vegas Convention Center and surrounding grounds, encompassing about one million square feet of exhibit space. The Intermountain Snowmobile Show utilizes about 45,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Okay, so maybe the SEMA event is more than just a tab bigger than the Intermountain Snow Show.

Then again, I know most everyone at the Intermountain Snow Show or, at the very least, know something about every company that is there. The Intermountain Snow Show is definitely more user friendly than trying to cover one million square feet. It took me nearly one day to see all the exhibits in just one building at the SEMA show. (There are three buildings and two tents at SEMA.)

Here are some general observations comparing the two . SEMA vs. the Intermountain Snowmobile Show.

Scenery Sorry, but the Wasatch Mountains beat Las Vegas and the surrounding desert in the looks department. Vegas at night with all the lights and such are almost a light overload. I'll take the mountains any day and never get tired of looking at them.

Sex Appeal Apparently scantily clad women help sell more tires . those gals would freeze to death in snow conditions.

Bling Yea, billet wheels and even billet pull rope handles and gas caps are cool but the SEMA show is bling with a capital B-L-I-N-G. A cruise through SEMA's Hot Rod Alley shows the automotive industry has a leg up on the snowmobile market when it comes to eye candy. I will say there are some pretty impressive mod sleds at the Mod Show . but you have to go to our Idaho Snowmobile Show to see those.

Bargains Even with the ever present $4.99 steak and eggs deal (which, of course, is available from midnight to 4 a.m.), Salt Lake City is a better bargain. Who ever heard of anyone visiting Las Vegas without dropping cash at any number of casinos or convenience stores or restaurants or stores or just about anywhere in that city.

Win A New. This might be a toss up. Anyone who paid to get into the Intermountain Snowmobile Show was eligible to win a 2008 Polaris RMK snowmobile. Those attending the SEMA show could register to win a Lexus. Okay, so maybe I wouldn't take a new RMK over a Lexus, but I might. And my odds of winning in Salt Lake City (1 in about 6,000) were much better than Las Vegas (1 in 125,000). I like my odds better in SLC.

DVD Overload There are far more snowmobile DVD/movie booths at the Intermountain Snowmobile Show than there were DVD/movie booths of any kind at the SEMA show (maybe at SEMA they realized they were competing with the scantily clad women). In fact, I only saw one movie booth at SEMA. However, the greater number of exhibits at SEMA had some sort of flat screen TV showing off their respective products. Pretty high tech marketing going on there.

Flashy Exhibits There were some stunning displays at the SEMA show. Snow shows have a handful of really cool displays (Ski-Doo and Yamaha at the Intermountain Snow Show come to mind) but the number at SEMA was almost overwhelming. We're talking big money displays. A couple of the car manufacturers (Ford and GM) had displays/exhibits that would have covered the entire main floor at the Salt Lake County Events Center, home to the Intermountain Snowmobile Show. Other booths at SEMA were smaller but equally as impressive.

Not Engaging It's amazing to me that some people (vendors) at both the Intermountain Snowmobile Show and SEMA just sit in their booth and barely say a word when a potential customer walks up to their booth. Why are you even there?

International Visitors SEMA attracts people from all over the world, including Japan, Korea, China, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico, Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Germany and the list goes on and on. I think we had someone from California come to the Intermountain Snowmobile Show. That's about as foreign as we get (okay, just kidding. Don't send me any letters about how mean I am).

Test Drive You could test drive a new Toyota Tundra over some man-made rocks in a closed off area in the parking lot that somewhat (but not really) resembled an off-road obstacle course. We still haven't figured out how to make enough snow so sledders can test drive a snowmobile during the Intermountain Snowmobile Show.

 

It was definitely an eye-opening experience to attend the SEMA show and I'll probably go back some day. But if I had to pick, I would take a snow show over a SEMA-type show any day.