Friday, December 11, 2009

Still the Best!

22 years and counting. Steve Lewis and the staff at Performance Racing Industry still have, and put on the Best Motorsports Industry Trade Show in the US if not the World. For the few of you old enough to remember the SEMA Show from 40 years ago, it started as a Racing Trade Show. SEMA used to stand for Speed Equipment Manufacturer Association, now it is Specialty Equipment (neon, chrome wheels, car covers, and other automotive "Bling" .

While there is a new Racing Trade Show in the world (and there are many), the PRI Show is still the one you must go to if you are a Motorsports Retailer. And if you are a company that makes parts or has services for serious Racing Teams, (NASCAR, NHRA, Grand-Am, ALMS, SCCA-Pro Racing) you must attend this show. The PRI Show is not just for the Circle Track crowd that likes the cold weather in Indy in December. While it is a nice thing when you can go to and be an exhibitor at your local "Home Town" Race Show, if you are a member of a Professional Race Team, a Driver for a Professional Race Team, (or want to be), you must be at the PRI Show wherever it is held. And lets just hope it stays in a nice town that knows how to treat "out-of-town" guests, has great resturants, lots of hotels, and lots of great things to do after a long day of working at a trade show (as an exhibitor or attendee). While I wish I didn't have to fly to the other side of the country for a show, (Las Vegas or Anaheim would be better for me), not going, is not an option. We in Motorsports Media have to go to certain events every year. When it is in our back yard, that just means we can sleep in our own beds at night. But when you are in this Industry, you learn to travel well, and live in Hotels. If you can't do that, you're in the wrong business. So if you have to go out of town for Races, Trades Shows, and Awards Banquets, they should at least be in cities that have good weather (much of the time). After all, why do you think the Racing Season is set up for each regions weather?

(We don't Race in Phoenix in July and The Indy 500 is held at the end of May, not the end of November).
That means Las Vegas, Orlando, and Anaheim. These cities know how to deal with large numbers of out of town guests, keep them safe, keep them moving, and treat them nicely. The cities that haven't learned how to do that (or can't for various reasons) should not be in the convention business. Now remember a few things about this process. We in Motorsports can't really take time off during the season for a Car Show or Trade Show when the weather in some of the other cities in the US that can host really great Trade Shows or Conventions . Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Dallas, and many other great cities can offer wonderful places for a Trade Show. But not during the time of year when we could attend them. Also, as our Industry Grows we need to have a venue that can shrink or expand with our needs. SEMA needs to learn that Las Vegas doesn't actually have the best venue for the SEMA Show. But Las Vegas is the Capitol of Grand Excess, and Gratuitous Bling, so the SEMA Show may never move back to where it belongs in Anaheim, CA. And while the City of Anaheim might like the money that came into town during the SEMA years. Anaheim is an "Anti Car- Anti Motorsports" town now, and may not want the silliness that comes with the purveyors of "Bling".

The Orange County (Florida) Convention Center in Orlando, FL does seem to like having us there, tries to be helpful, and if it didn't rip us off for parking, would be perfect. Note to the OCCC in Orlando, FL "Stop Ripping us off for parking at your venue. We bring enough money into town, (I'm sure you got paid plenty for the building rent) must you also hold us up for parking in a building where we come to "Work"? Do your employees have to pay to park when they come to work?

So if there has to be one really important, must go to, Motorsports Trade Show in the US (and there does have to be), then I'm glad Steve Lewis picked Orlando. Las Vegas has more parking problems, a disjointed/bad flowing building, and Anaheim has found a way to kick almost every Motorsports/Automotive Manufacturer out of town.

I've been going to the PRI Trade Show since Day One, and this new show, is the best one of it's kind anywhere. We even get to Race at this show. Steve Lewis, John Kilroy, Pete Evanow, Alan Jones, Susana Furlong, and all the Great Staff at PRI, year after year put on the best Motorsports/Racing/Performance Trade Show in the World. Keep up the great work, thanks for moving to Orlando, and lets make it bigger next year and work on the minor details that make an otherwise perfect show, just Great.

Note to Grand-Am: We have to go to las Vegas and Orlando, plan your awards banquets accordingly. And why didn't you have a booth at the Show?

Dicken Wear, Editor-in-Chief, "The Motorsports Report"
(qualified 8th finished, 7th in the Media Race)
Motorsports Director
of the Original Competiton Engineering.