October 05, 2023

4th Annual Hood Master & 3rd Annual PiN Master Sets New Records

The 2023 Hood Master event 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 on September 22nd, 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 & PiN Master Challenges, including the gallery of select prior winners displayed on the main stage. With participants from all over the nation, it was certainly inspiring to see their talents presented side-by-side. 

Additionally, guests could meet with Dave Kindig, Kindig-It Designs, and watch live pinstriping demos from Cory Mroz, 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 2x Winner (1st Place – Airbrush & Crowd Favorite) Tom Hudach, TNT Custom Paint, who encouraged everyone to do hands-on taping and design activities with him. Notably, the Collision Repair Education Foundation 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 $22K in prizes including cash, tools, and equipment were awarded to this year’s winners. Not to mention, the FinishMaster Team raised a record-breaking $30K 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. 

  • Diamond: 3M, AkzoNobel, Axalta 
  • Platinum: Smart  
  • Gold: Norton/St. Gobain, Sagola, SATA 
  • Silver: Accudraft, DeVilbiss, Dynabrade, Evercoat, GFS – Global Finishing Solutions, Innovative Tools, ProStat, RJE – Business Interiors, SEM, Transtar 

“Hood Master – it’s awesome! 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!” – Keith Bell, Axalta Business Director, North America & CREF Board Member; Axalta Diamond Sponsor 


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 with 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. Thank you to the judges for their diligence in helping select the 2023 Winners! 

1st Place –⁠ Tom Hudach, Urethane Circus (Prizes included: $3,000, SATA TrueSun color match light, SATAgraph 4 airbrush + Premium Sponsor Promotional Items)

2nd Place –⁠ Tom Strait, Perseverance through Pain (Prizes included: $2,000, SATA 4400 minijet, SATAgraph 4 airbrush + Premium Sponsor Promotional Items)

3rd Place –⁠ Craig “WIZ” McNeil, Melting Pot (Prizes included: $1,000, Sagola 3300 GTO Gravity, Sagola Classic Lux Gravity + Premium Sponsor Promotional Items)

1st Place –⁠ Tommy Strader, Endless Summer (Prizes included: $3,000, SATA TrueSun color match light, Sagola Classic Pro XD Gravity + Premium Sponsor Promotional Items)

2nd Place –⁠ Kevin Campbell, Purgatory (Prizes included: $2,000, Sagola Mini Xtreme Gravity, Sagola Classic Lux Gravity + 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 + Premium Sponsor Promotional Items)

Online Crowd Favorite – Tom Hudach, Urethane Circus (Prizes included: $2,000, Sagola 475 XTech Gravity, Sagola Classic Lux Gravity + 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. The FinishMaster team did a great job presenting the competition and putting on a quality reception and display." – Dave Kindig, Kindig-It Designs; AkzoNobel Diamond Sponsor Judge 

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 US, 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, and premium sponsor promotional items. 

“A truly amazing event that benefits a really important group in the Collision Repair Education Foundation. As it is critical we find creative ways to get young, talented individuals into the collision repair industry.” - Brian Shafer, 3M National Account Manager – Automotive Aftermarket; 3M Diamond Sponsor 


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. 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.” - Kenneth Denney, Hot Rod Specialties, Indianapolis, Indiana; Axalta Diamond Sponsor Judge 

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

“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. 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!” – Cory Mroz, Mr.Oz Designs; Featured Special Guest Judge  

Congratulations to this year's winners and join us next year to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Hood Master event and to give back to collision repair programs supported by the Collision Repair Education Foundation. 

Stay updated on Hood Master activities by signing up for email communications: https://www.finishmaster.com/hood-master-challenge  

FinishMaster is the leading national distributor of paint, coatings, and related materials for the automotive and industrial finishing industries. Our mission is to provide quality products, reliable delivery and a steadfast commitment to our customers and their continued success.