SEMA. It's a four-letter acronym that has the ability to suck the entire automotive industry to Las Vegas with the power of 6,000 Dysons, two black holes and Jenna Jameson, combined. Truth be told, for a heavily male-oriented trade, it wouldn't take much to draw the masses to the flashing lights of Sin City. A sprocket convention would likely crowd the Las Vegas Convention Center. Why? Because under normal circumstances, merely utter the words "Vegas" and "trip", and your significant other's warning index will hit DEFCON 2 before you can say "casino". What with the highest stripper-pole-per-visitor-capita count in the world, the odds of going to Vegas, alone, are about as good as finding a hetero male who's watched Twilight: New Moon, willingly. But if it's proposed in the context of a business trip, however . . .
"Dear, there's this work-related thing out in Nevada the boys, er, co-workers and I need to attend . . . "
And boom, like a frat boy wielding a six-pack of roofie-infused wine coolers, you're in. Which is why in a crap economy where the automotive industry took a good brunt of the thrashing, the 2009 SEMA show was still pretty damn packed. Sure, some OEs and manufacturers weren't present and booths were scaled back, but you couldn't have told from the throngs of attendees. Even in a slow year like this, SEMA was still too much to traverse in the four days of exhibition, and there were plenty of cool new products, fresh cars and hot booth babes to take in. Need proof? Take a gander: