So many cars, so little time. The Chico State Formula SAE team took 15 guys to Las Vegas to check out one day of the SEMA show after a career fair on Monday.
Suspension design lead John Ricerman was kind enough to invite us all to crash at his house before our flight out on Sunday morning. The team was surprisingly civilized and almost nothing was broken at John's while we were there (except the Hondas, but they're always broken).
Most of us crashed out relatively early in anticipation of our flight out to Las Vegas the next morning. Before calling it a night, though, I cruised over to Treasure Island with the president of the club and his dad's 900 horsepower Chevelle. Keep an eye out for a small feature on this car in the coming weeks.
Our flight was moved, the morning of, from San Francisco to the Oakland airport. This worked out well for us since we were already in the East Bay, but I felt bad for the out-of-town travelers who had to find their way across the Bay Bridge a couple hours before their flight. We made it safely to the Excalibur, excited for a couple days of Vegas and SEMA. I was stoked to find this van tucked into the garage at our hotel; like they say, vinyl dies and paint ages.
The first order of business was food, but I skipped out on the wings and went for some sushi off the strip with a good friend. After heading back to the casinos, I grabbed my camera and hit the strip. With the career fair the next day, I wasn't out long and this would be the last night I actually got sleep on the trip.
The career day on Monday was kicked off with some speeches, including one from former Olympic decathlete and gold medalist, Bryan Clay. And the sure way to keep hundreds of students entertained is to feed them. After the luncheon, the doors were opened to about 45 companies; contacts were made and sponsorship opportunities were secured for the FSAE team.
Also in attendance was Sung Kang, pictured here with my buddy Luis. It's always interesting that the most famous and popular people in the car scene are the most humble and laid back. His Ford Maverick build, Underdog, which was created in conjunction with a handful of high-school students, was also at SEMA. At this time it was hiding out under a car cover, but some photos of the car are down below.
But, I didn't feel like waiting for the doors to technically open, so I helped myself to a few of the show rooms in the midst of preparations. Being dressed to talk to possible employers, no one seemed to look twice at me and my folders holding resumes and other paperwork. It's incredible seeing how much work goes into an event like this; the logistics alone are truly mind-blowing.
First, obviously, all of the cars have to be shipped out. The problem is, these aren't your normal cars. You can't just slide these things on any old car trailer with any old shipping company and hope for the best. These are high-dollar builds, with most of them sporting huge aero, zero ground clearance, and fancy wide-body kits (it is over-fender nationals, after all).
Not to mention all of the enormous offroading builds that likely have never even seen a strip of paved road, let alone an open trail. It's awfully hard to get anywhere when you don't have any drive-shafts, but I'm not here to make fun of the unfinished cars of SEMA.
There were, of course, plenty of quality builds at the show and guys were scrambling to get everything just right before the doors opened. And once they did, it was unlike any other show I had ever experienced. This being my first time at SEMA, I was definitely impressed; a big thank you to Blake for organizing the trip and making it happen with 15 other guys from the team.
There really was something for everyone, from the lifted trucks to the insane builds from movies, to race cars to stanced builds. Being there for only one day, there just wasn't enough time to see everything. The following are some of my favorite shots I got at the show (full gallery at the end, 200+ photos).