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Mission Accomplished: 2021 Hood Master Challenge

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There was a palpable excitement in the air as attendees buzzed with anticipation walking through the doors of Bullseye Event Center, downtown Indianapolis on Friday, October 15, 2021.

The second year of the Hood Master Challenge is officially over, and it ended with a spectacular one-of-a-kind art exhibit. Industry enthusiasts entered the industrial event space and were greeted with a shocking collection of metal flake and paint.

The challenge, originally created to showcase the artistry within the industry, has grown in the past two years despite the pandemic and obstacles faced by painters and auto body shops across the country. The FinishMaster team was unable to host the exhibit during the inaugural year in 2020 so they were committed to overdeliver on this year’s experience. 

To truly appreciate the artistry, talent and dedication put into these aluminum mini hoods, you had to see them in person. A magical combination of lighting, music, and true admiration for auto painters, created a memorable evening for all those who attended.

A mixture of industry vets, seasoned professionals, fresh faced students, and the curious public walked the floor taking in the pinstriped patterns and realistic airbrushed images. Some individuals were surprised to learn that the same persons who painted their bumper in the repair shop were also capable of creating such unbelievable artwork.

The FinishMaster team responsible for creating the challenge and hosting the exhibit, never wavered from their goal of building a creative platform to showcase and recognize the talent of these artists. But what they never could have imagined was the supportive community that the challenge cultivated and newfound respect for the profession that spread like wildfire. Thanks to social media and the 9,500 square foot exhibit hall, more eyes are on these painters than ever before, cheering them on and supporting their work.

Over 100 artists registered and 38 competed in airbrush and pinstripe categories, judged by 15 industry representatives for over $20,000 worth of prizes. Being crowned Hood Master is an honor, but perhaps the real prize given is recognition from one’s peers. When the job you do requires you to wear a full zip up suit and a respirator that covers more than half of your face, you must work extra hard to be recognized. Painters are taking to social media and video platforms to help spread the word about their work. The purpose of Hood Master is to serve as a microphone for these painters, so they can turn up the volume and shout a little louder.

Many painters who have competed over the past two years could be quoted saying the challenge lit a fire in them, gave them a creative outlet and even served as a positive thing to look forward to during challenging times.

“Sometimes, the daily business portion of operating a collision repair facility can cause us to lose focus on what is likely the real reason many of us began in the industry- and that would be the passion to create. I know that the Hood Master Challenge has renewed my excitement coming in to the shop daily, regardless of the outcome of the competition.” Kevin Campbell, Wild Card Winner: Car-Nelian

But wait, it gets even better! In addition to the professional challenge, FinishMaster partnered with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) to create the first ever PiN MASTER Student Challenge. Collision repair students, both high school and college, were invited to compete for prize packages of their own. Challengers were asked to repair retired bowling pins and paint them using application techniques learned in class for a chance to be dubbed PiN MASTER.


To top off the night, the exhibit was raising money for a great cause. Raffle prize tickets, merchandise and student pins were available for purchase. Every student pin found its way to a new home to be proudly displayed and thanks to generous donations made by industry suppliers and challenge sponsors like 3M and Axalta, prize packages were given away to 20 lucky winners. All the evening’s proceeds directly funded a FinishMaster sponsored education grant with CREF, totaling around $5,000.

There were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd including Paul Quinn (Design Brilliance), Kyle Neely (Blue Collar Kyle), and Jason Stahl (BodyShop Business), as well as many industry newcomers, but they all left with two things in common – shock and awe.


Student Winners 

1st: Jayden Bell – WyoTech, Laramie, WY

2nd: Johanna Swartz – Lincoln College of Technology, Indianapolis, IN

3rd: Taylor Keilman – Kingwood Park High School, Kingwood, TX

Wild Card: David Lalo – Lincoln Tech, Denver, CO


Pinstripe Winners

1st: Project Reynolds Wrap by Adam Paul, Hooper, UT

2nd: Frozen by Josh Dobson, Stratford, Ontario

3rd: Blue Dream by Roy O’Brien, Palos Heights, IL


Airbrush Winners

1st: Untitled by Chad Henslin, Valley Springs, SD

2nd: Duality by Tom Straight, Gaithersburg, MD

3rd: Escape by Michael Olney, Bellevue, MI

Wild Card: Car-Nelian by Kevin Campbell, South Chicago Heights, IL

Crowd Favorite: Green with Envy by Zack Hampton, Larned, KS

  • 1,416 votes of the total 5,126 votes


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