4th Annual Hood Master Event Sets New Records

4th Annual Hood Master Event Sets New Records

FinishMaster hosted 350 guests at the 4th annual Hood Master and PiN Master Challenge showcasing the skills of collision painters.

FinishMaster announced that its 2023 Hood Master and PiN Master Challenge event held Sept. 22 and designed to showcase the talent, creativity and artistry of collision repair painters exceeded expectations with a full house of top-notch industry professionals.

The Hood Master Challenge started in 2020 as a “what if” vision with one simple goal of highlighting the artistry within the industry. This automotive painting challenge was created for industry professionals within the automotive painting, refinishing and collision repair industry. As the 350 guests entered the Biltwell Event Center in Indianapolis, Ind., they immediately realized this year’s Hood Master would be bigger and better. From the original exposed brick to the antique fire doors, the charming venue welcomed guests to a one-of-a-kind experience.

As guests look forward to each year, they had the opportunity to connect with the Hood Master sponsors, judges and challengers who traveled to Indianapolis for the event this year. There were 105 hoods and pins on display for the 2023 Hood Master and PiN Master Challenges, including a gallery of select prior winners displayed on the main stage. With participants from all over the nation, it was inspiring to see their talents presented side-by-side.

Additionally, guests got to meet with Dave Kindig of Kindig-It Designs and watch live pinstriping demos from Cory Mroz of Mr.Oz Designs, who were both featured judges for this year’s challenge. There was also an activity station with 2023 Hood Master challenger and two-time winner (1st Place – Airbrush and Crowd Favorite) Tom Hudach of TNT Custom Paint, who encouraged everyone to do hands-on taping and design activities with him. Notably, the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) helped facilitate the annual fundraiser with the silent auction and mystery gift table.

At the beginning of the evening, guests gathered around the front stage once announcements started for the 2023 Hood Master and PiN Master winners. Over $22,000 in prizes including cash, tools and equipment were awarded to this year’s winners. Not to mention, the FinishMaster Team raised a record-breaking $30,000 for CREF through fundraising efforts.

FinishMaster is beyond grateful for the continued support from the key industry partners listed below who make the challenges and event possible with their sponsorship commitments:


3M, AkzoNobel, Axalta




Norton/St. Gobain, Sagola, SATA


Accudraft, DeVilbiss, Dynabrade, Evercoat, GFS – Global Finishing Solutions, Innovative Tools, ProStat, RJE – Business Interiors, SEM, Transtar

“Hood Master – it’s awesome!” said Keith Bell, Axalta business director, North America and CREF board member. “The whole thought behind this thing to get the kids involved and just what we’re doing in general is incredible. And with the artwork alone, I’m super impressed — it’s phenomenal.”

Hood Master Winners

This year’s challengers brought their talent and experience to a whole new level. From intricate painting techniques to lighting and 3D sculptures, everyone was in awe of what they saw. Each challenger poured their heart and soul into their artwork, and the industry panel of judges did not have an easy job ahead of them.

  • 1st place –⁠ Tom Hudach, Urethane Circus / prizes included: $3,000, SATA TrueSun color match light, SATAgraph 4 airbrush and premium sponsor promotional items
  • 2nd place –⁠ Tom Strait, Perseverance through Pain / prizes included: $2,000, SATA 4400 minijet, SATAgraph 4 airbrush and premium sponsor promotional items
  • 3rd place –⁠ Craig “WIZ” McNeil, Melting Pot / prizes included: $1,000, Sagola 3300 GTO Gravity, Sagola Classic Lux Gravity and premium sponsor promotional items
  • 1st place –⁠ Tommy Strader, Endless Summer / prizes included: $3,000, SATA TrueSun color match light, Sagola Classic Pro XD Gravity and premium sponsor promotional items
  • 2nd place –⁠ Kevin Campbell, Purgatory / prizes included: $2,000, Sagola Mini Xtreme Gravity, Sagola Classic Lux Gravity and premium sponsor promotional items
  • 3rd place –⁠ Austin Polen, Turmoil / prizes included: $1,000, Sagola 3300 GTO Gravity, Sagola Classic Lux Gravity + Premium Sponsor Promotional Items
  • Wild card – Tom Strait, Perseverance through Pain / prizes included: $2,000, Sagola Mini Xtreme Gravity, Sagola Classic Lux Gravity and premium sponsor promotional items
Online Crowd Favorite
  • Tom Hudach, Urethane Circus / prizes included: $2,000, Sagola 475 XTech Gravity, Sagola Classic Lux Gravity and premium sponsor promotional items

“The FinishMaster Hood Master Challenge is a great opportunity for all skill leveled artists to show their talents, and I was very honored to have had the opportunity to see and judge the contest this year,” said Dave Kindig. “The FinishMaster team did a great job presenting the competition and putting on a quality reception and display.”

PiN Master Winners

PiN Master is a student challenge hosted at the same time as the Hood Master challenge. It is a contest for students in collision repair programs across the U.S. who compete by repairing, designing and painting retired bowling pins. The goal of the PiN Master Challenge is to showcase the students’ skills and to support the future of this industry. Over 50 bowling pins were on display this year:

  • 1st place – Ahryus Griffin, ‘Murica
  • 2nd place – Julian Perez, Project Neon Razor
  • 3rd place – Kenny Rolle, Hot Fudge Sundae
  • Wild card – Kenny Rolle, Hot Fudge Sundae

Congratulations to this year’s PiN Master winners whose prize winnings included tools and equipment to help advance the start of their careers in collision repair, plus premium sponsor promotional items.

A truly amazing event that benefits a really important group in the Collision Repair Education Foundation,” said Brian Shafer, national account manager for 3M Automotive Aftermarket. “As it is critical, we find creative ways to get young, talented individuals into the collision repair industry.”

Funds for the Future

Through partnering with the CREF team, FinishMaster had the opportunity to fundraise for the future of the collision repair industry for a third year in a row. All proceeds raised before and during the Hood Master event went directly to a FinishMaster-sponsored education grant for CREF to continue supporting collision repair education programs across the nation. This year, the FinishMaster and CREF teams’ efforts paid off with a record-breaking $30,000 raised.

“This is a great event for an even better cause,” said Kenneth Denney, Hot Rod Specialties, Indianapolis. “It blends a classy fundraiser gala with wild, custom paint jobs. It not only gives industry professionals a place to network and meet new friends, but also gives artists and students a place to showcase their talents, all while benefiting the future of the industry.”

Wrapping Up the 2023 Experience

This year’s event was a true accomplishment. FinishMaster offers a hearty thank-you to the industry sponsors, industry-expert panel of judges and challengers to the volunteers who helped bring the vision of the 2023 Hood Master and PiN Master to life.

“Being at the 2023 Hood Master event was not only a phenomenal social experience with so many fun, cool and creative people in one place but also from the judging standpoint, it was a challenging process,” said Cory Mroz of Mr.Oz Designs. “From the venue to the host hotel, the bus rides back and forth between the two, the people, the art, the culture, the food and everything in between, the FinishMaster crew pulled out all the stops in event-making. This event still being newer, I cannot imagine what the future holds, and I will most certainly be back to grow with it.”

FinishMaster is looking forward to next year to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Hood Master event and to give back to collision repair programs supported by CREF.

To stay updated on Hood Master activities, sign up for email communications here.

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