SEMA Hall of Fame

     For a chosen few, an obsession develops. Regardless of personal or professional success, this select group never stops raising the bar. Even when they take the checkered flag at the track or produce an event that attracts thousands of rabid fans or they literally break the mould when it comes to reinventing performance parts.

   Bob Larivee Sr. certainly meets these requirements. Bob was inducted into the SEMA HALL OF Fame in 2012 along with Nick Arias Jr. – Founder of Arias Pistons, Bill France Sr. – Founder / Former President of NASCAR and Mark Heffington – Owner /President, Hypertech Inc.

     Unfortunately, prior commitments interfered, and I was not able to attend the SEMA Hall Fame Gala In Las Vegas when Bob was inducted. Fast forward five years to 2017. Unknown to me, each year at SEMA the SEMA Board holds a brunch for all Hall of Fame members and to introduce that year’s inductees.

     The brunch is prior to the official announcement at SEMA banquet on Thursday evening. Bob happened to mention that each Hall of Fame member could bring a guest to the brunch and would I like to attend. This was early in the week and I did not give it much thought besides, we already had tickets for the SEMA banquet.

     Somehow my girls, Stacey, Shannon and Brandy got wind of this conversation and said that this was a privileged opportunity and there were no ifs or buts about it I was going to be Bobs guest.

     What an amazing experience! They introduced the inductees that would be inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening at the SEMA Banquet. They were GiGi Carleton who worked for 50 years plus for the Peterson Publishing Company, Doug Evans an outgoing SEMA board chairman and Barry Meguiar president of the company that bears his name. Allow me to digress for minute as I think that it’s important to acknowledge two Toronto area hot rodders that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, George Foote Karbelt Speed &Custom 1984 and Bob McJannett Performance Improvements 2003.

     The brunch was held in a medium sized conference room with round tables tastefully decorated, with a history of The Hall of Fame including pictures of previous inductees.
As I was having  lunch I had to pinch myself (is this for real) it didn’t matter where I looked there were people from the pages of all the major publications, industry leaders, race car owners and drivers, etc,etc,etc.

     To name a few: Cory Coker, Herb Fisher, Dennis Gage, Don Prudhomme, Ed Iskenderian, Dave McClelland, Linda Vaughn, Angelo Giampetroni and the list goes on and on.

      All members in attendance were given a SEMA Hall of Fame programme containing pictures of members dating back as far as 1969 with provisions for autographs. Fortunately, I was able to obtain one, and I was like a kid in a candy store. This programme is one of my most prized automotive collectables.

     A funny thing happened when I was getting the programme signed. I would have them autograph their picture and 9 out of 10 would ask what page I was on so that they could sign my picture! Imagine Don Prudhomme asking what page I was on so that I could sign his programme.

     I finally took the easy way out and had as many members as I could sign the front cover.

     I want to thank my daughters and especially my good buddy Bob Larivee for giving me the opportunity to have hang out with some very cool and legendary people.

SEMA Hall of Fame
SEMA Hall of Fame - signed

I would love to hear your Hot Rodding experiences. Please comment below or email me at sled1949@rogers.com

                                                                                                                                           For now,

                                                                                                                                                         Gary Challice

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