Event Report- Sand Sports Super Show Hot
To say the least, 2013 has been an interesting year. As a country, the good ol’ USA has been through numerous economic up- and down-turns. As a result, the OffRoad industry, as a whole, continues to enjoy some success as people are more willing and able to part with a little “fun” money. What this means for us is that more people are out enjoying the sport we all love.
For everyone in the southwestern United States, the month of September signifies several milestones. Namely, the end of summer is here and that means that the dirt toys are hauled out the garage, serviced up, and put in the trailer to head to the dunes. For 15 straight years now, September is also the month when the largest sand-based show takes place at the Orange County Fairgrounds. This well-known event, referred to as the Sand Sports Super Show, is a duners paradise! It offers up everything and anything to do with the sand sport industry. Each year, this show previews the hottest new products, accessories, trends, vehicles, and clothing that duners will see throughout the season, and this year proved to carry on that tradition in excellent fashion.
Unfortunately, many people refer to this as a “UTV” show these days, and we always look down on that reference. In reality, the Sand Sports Super Show (SSSS) accurately represents trends in the market; and, given that UTV’s, in general, are growing in their market share, many people tend to focus on only that fact while neglecting the other aspects that the SSSS has to offer. We noticed countless companies who offered tons of accessories for not only UTV’s, but also quads, dirt bikes, dune buggies, and trucks.
One of the hottest accessories to be featured at the Sand Show happened to be LED lighting technologies. I happened to complete a full feature article in the recent issue of SAND SPORTS MAGAZINE highlighting the pros and cons of several different LED lighting companies, so I was uniquely familiar with this market. As usual, there were your tried and true lighting names, including: Baja Designs, Rigid Industries, KC Hilites, Bulldog LED lighting, Lazer Star, Vision X, and Acro lights, just to name a few.
LED lighting has also transformed the whip-flag market. We think this is a welcome advancement for the sand sport industry because nighttime riding is all about having fun and making yourself more visible to people around you. And what better way to do this than put a flag on your vehicle that has an entire string of LED’s embedded into the flag?! The C2 crew is extremely thankful for this advancement, and we know it will help the dunes become an even safer place in the future. Some of the companies exhibiting were: Smart Whips and Safeglo Whips.
LED lighting wasn’t the only accessory trend seen at this year’s sand show. Many companies displayed handy tools to accompany an offroader on their excursions. One that stuck at out us happened to be new battery technologies. Lithium ion batteries are not new in the technology world – they have proved useful in computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices for years. But their applications for the offroad industry are fairly new, and the Sand Show saw several companies, some foreign and some domestic, that offered more compact and lighter batteries for your quad, motorcycle, UTV, truck, or buggy (ex: Antigravity Batteries). For a heads up, these applications are not cheap because of the costs to produce the Lithium, but they should prove to be more reliable and capable in the long run.
Continuing on the battery theme, several booths had new electronic chargers for your batteries. One such charger offered the potential to charge everything from your mobile phone to full-size battery, and it even tripled as a jump starter for your vehicle! All of this was offered in a package that is no larger than a school text book.
While there were a ton of accessories at the show, the real attention-getters are all of the sparkly, shiny, and blinged-out vehicles that grace most of the show. As far as sand cars are concerned, there are still a host of manufacturers in the industry, and they are each bringing their best cars to the table. For this year’s sand show, the following sand car manufacturers made an appearance: Sand Cars Unlimited, Funco Motorsports, JP Designs, Extreme Performance, Raw Motorsports, Racer Engineering, Buckshot Racing, Potter Productions, S&S Sandcars, Colorado Sandcars, Camburg Engineering, Drakart INC, and Tatum Motorsports. As we mentioned, the buggies that are on display at this show are top-notch, and we couldn’t think of anything else we’d like to see. Sand cars are every bit as comfortable as a street vehicle these days with creature comforts such as heated seats, power steering, full communication systems, stereo systems, huge amounts of suspension travel, motors that are insanely powerful, and transmissions that have proven to be bulletproof in the harshest environments. We love these custom sand cars, and we hope that people will continue looking at these vehicles as the go-to, fun machines.
While this year’s SSSS didn’t include a great amount of quads or motorcycles, the few that we did see were full-featured and fully built with awesomeness! Chaparral Motorsports brought out a slew of new vechicles that included the latest quad and motorcycle offerings. We were so happy to see that people of all ages were having a great time sitting on the new bikes. Also, there were a couple different modified quads, including a drag-specific Banshee that we were drooling over.
The OffRoad world goes through changes just like every other industry, and this year proved that the SideXSide’s have definitely made their presence known. This increased presence is being led by Polaris Industries. The all-new RZR XP1000 is leading the way for customizing shops even though it has only been on sale for a couple of months, max. In addition to the RZR line of vehicles, CanAm, Arctic Cat, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda all have extensive lines of UTV’s, and they are becoming ever more prevalent in the industry. The RZR might sell the best, but the other manufacturers are right there with the performance envelope, and we look forward to seeing where this industry goes in the future. We’ll be watching the entire time. This reminds us of when the 450cc quads first started coming out and becoming popular within the racing community. Nowadays, the 450cc quad is a mainstream vehicle among all of the major Japanese manufacturers, and we are interested to see if the “big 4” from Japan jump into the sport UTV segment. Until that happens, we’ll be waiting with great anticipation.
A welcomed addition to the 2013 sand show was all of the manufacturer and dealer presence. Polaris Industries, CanAm BRP, Artic Cat, Berts UTV, and Chaparral Motorsports were among the list of dealers and manufacturers in attendance. Having these big names in attendance brings even more attendees out of hiding, and we look forward to seeing all of these fine companies back at next year’s SSSS.
As always, trailers and motorhomes dominated the outskirts of the fairgrounds. We find that consumers love to look and drool at the latest products, and the host of trailers always attracts a host of people. Everyone peruses the outside of the area and works their way to inside of the portable homes. The inside of these trailers is absolutely extraordinary these days with the gourmet kitchens and slide-outs galore. Just take a look at our pictures to get an idea of what is available from the following manufacturers and dealers: Giant RV, Mike Thompson RV, Richardsons RV, Ultimate Custom Haulers, Ultra Custom Haulers, Sport Trailers, Universal Trailers, and Warrior Lifestyles.
In addition to all of the great products displayed at the Sand Show, 2013 marked the first year that there was a truck event held in the same general area. Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Truck series has taken the short course racing world by storm, and the 3 round held at the SSSS proved that this style of racing and the format under which it was run is a huge hit with offroad enthusiasts!
The Sand Sports Super Show definitely kicked off the season in style, and we can’t wait to get out to the desert and experience the latest and greatest products that the OffRoad industry has to offer. We’ll have numerous trip reports coming your way, and we look forward to bringing our readers the best articles from the sport we all love. Make sure to bookmark our site! We’ll be typing up a storm, and we hope everyone enjoys our work. Chime in below and tell us what you think…
Until next time, be safe in the OffRoad jungle!