Indianapolis is revved up and ready to welcome the only trade show designed exclusively for the hot rod, street rod, muscle car and classic truck industry. For our 13th year, we've put together an impressive show schedule that offers three days of education, new product introductions and industry social events.
"What happens in" Indy … certainly doesn't stay in Indy. The connections made and products introduced at this trade show will help your business all year long. That's why attendees such as Cliff Taylor of Cliff's Hot Rod Shop in Coatesville, Indiana, return to the HRR Trade Show year after year. "I remember the first [time I attended] and how it impressed me," said Taylor. "The vendors were all willing to explain their products and answer any questions I had. We were able to set up many companies as suppliers to our shop and it has been that way every year since." Taylor, who has attended the last eight shows, added that attending the show has had a big impact on his business. "I believe our business would not be where it is today without attending this trade show," he said. This year's show features many return exhibitors, including CON2R, whose staff makes the long trip from Beaverton, Oregon, to attend. "We continue to come back because the HRR show has a focused audience within the hot rod and street rod industry," said CON2R's Jason Diamond. "We appreciate the common goals of everyone who participates in the HRR Show. It's always encouraging to see the industry grow and foster growth." What can attendees and exhibitors expect from this year's Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show? In addition to the educational seminars, two invaluable days on the show floor and various networking opportunities, we've added several new events and features to this year's show schedule. Read on for more information to help you make the most of your time in Indy. Education & Training Day Thursday will offer attendees the opportunity to take advantage of a full day of free educational seminar and workshops put on by many of the industry's most-prominent manufacturers and service providers. Presented by HRIA, a SEMA council, the Education & Training Day will be divided into eight one-hour sessions. With 38 manufacturers scheduled to present seminars. Some, like Edelbrock, plan to use the time to introduce attendees to the company's latest products. Others, such as Eaton Detroit Spring's "Ask the Spring Guru" session, will offer a forum for attendees to ask questions about product selection and installation. "I always attend seminars on Education Day," said Taylor of Cliff's Hot Rod Shop. "We are making a strong effort to get our staff to as many sessions as possible this year. The technical information is very valuable to our business and I believe if you are going to sell a product, then you need to know everything you can about it." Brent VanDervort, owner of Fatman Fabrications, said he'll be discussing the technology behind hot rod suspension and chassis design at his seminar on Thursday. "One thing I'm adding this year [is] some of the common questions and difficulties people seem to run into while assembling chassis," VanDervort said. "[We'll] try to help with some of those things." Grand Opening Breakfast The Grand Opening Breakfast on Friday morning is one of the most-anticipated parts of the entire show and is not to be missed. Each year, the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a pioneer of the hot rod industry. This year we will honor Jack Chisenhall with the award. Chisenhall is the owner of Vintage Air and is the man responsible for helping make hot rodding possible all year long with the introduction of his air-conditioning products for street rods and hot rods. Barry Meguiar, who will once again act as master of ceremonies for the breakfast, will sit down with Chisenhall and his friends to tell stories about Chisenhall's extensive career in this industry. "The breakfast is a great opportunity to meet other attendees and hear about the award winner's life and accomplishments," said Taylor of Cliff's Hot Rod Shop. In addition to the presentation of the Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award, the Grand Opening Breakfast will also be the setting for the presentation of the first-ever Golden Builder Award, which will recognize the talented builder of one of the 40 impressive vehicles that will be on display at the trade show. Trade Show Floor Activities Once the Grand Opening Breakfast lets out, it's time to head to the show floor for an industry event like no other. "[This show's] focus is the hot rod industry," said Diamond of CON2R. "We are in the business of catering specifically to the hot rod and street rod industry. When our time is spent speaking only with others who have that same focus, our time is well-spent." First-time exhibitor Motorbooks is looking forward to introducing its brand to show attendees, according to the company's Nichole Schiele. "We are excited to show business owners what tools we offer to help them grow their businesses," said Schiele. "The chance to reach those folks that aren't familiar with Motorbooks is exciting." In addition to having the opportunity to meet with over 120 exhibitors, attendees will also be treated to some hot rod eye candy. This year's collection of display vehicles promises to be the best yet, with project cars from some of the most respected builders in the industry, including the Ringbrothers and Rob Ida. Attendees will also have a chance to see all of the products entered into the Innovation Awards competition. The New Product Showcase, always one of the most-popular attractions of the show, will be displayed in the middle of the show floor. The winners of the Innovation Awards will be announced on Friday morning at the Grand Opening Breakfast. Party in the U.S.A. This year's industry reception theme will be "American Made," saluting the products made in the United States. Attendees and exhibitors can enjoy a menu of All-American foods like burgers, fries and even apple pie on Friday evening, immediately after the trade show floor closes. This year, party attendees will also be able to enjoy a game of pool, foosball, or partake in some NASCAR remote-control car racing. In addition to great food and fun, the Industry Reception will also offer attendees the opportunity to win some fantastic prizes during the raffle. Party co-sponsor Goodguys will raffle off one of its leather bomber jackets, as well as tickets to the 1st Speedway Nationals, which takes place in September in Indy. Party co-sponsor Flaming River will raffle off one of its innovative steering columns. Attending the Industry Reception is a great way to network with other attendees and exhibitors in a casual setting. "While the show days are about business, and for us business is pleasure, when the tie comes off and the conversations become candid, that's when the human aspect of doing business comes into play," said CON2R's Diamond. "Within this industry, doing business is about dollars and cents, but also about trust and reliability." Saturday Seminars & Workshops The educational opportunities continue into Saturday when ARMO presents two new business seminars. The first will take place from 8 a.m.–9 a.m. and will be presented by Dick Dixon, director of the International Motorsports Alliance, and a professor at California State University, San Bernardino. Dixon will present "The Art of Selling," which will teach attendees how to be more-effective salespeople and how to build relationships with customers. Later that morning, ARMO will host a panel discussion on using the Internet to help your business. Panelists Eric Saltrick of Steele Rubber Products, Tyler Tanaka of Cie Studios and Robert Basha of Auction 123 will discuss the ways they use the Internet to market their companies, and will offer attendees tips on how they can do the same. Mobile Solutions will return to the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show to present a brand-new Interior Fabrication Workshop Saturday afternoon. The two-hour seminar will teach attendees about door panel designs and construction techniques, as well as upholstery techniques. "This is a completely different class than last year's," said Bryan Schmitt of Mobile Solutions. The workshop will cover specific topics such as how to use different types of fasteners, how to blend different upholstery materials and how to mount door panels, according to Schmitt. A live panel routing demonstration will also take place at the workshop. Builders of all skill levels will be able to learn something from this workshop, Schmitt said. "Even if you've been doing it for a year or for 30 years this class is for you," he said. "There's definitely something for everyone. Even veteran guys are going to pick up something." Also New for 2011 Fatman Fabrications will team up with RideTech on Saturday to present a chassis assembly demo right on the show floor. The team from Fatman will be doing a live assembly of one of its 1955–1957 Chevy chassis, using RideTech products. The entire demo will take about four hours, and during that time techs from Fatman will be answering questions from attendees. For the first time ever, the HRR Trade Show will be introducing its Passport Program, which gives attendees the opportunity to win some fantastic prizes, including round-trip air fare to the 2012 HRR Trade Show. Attendees will receive a Passport card at registration and will receive a sticker for each exhibitor they meet with. HRR magazine editors, along with Dick Dixon, will host a new Restoration Roundtable on Friday where attendees will be able to discuss business topics and industry issues with their peers. For more information on the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show, click here.