The WRAPSCON Wrap Olympics at the recent NBM SHOW in Long Beach, California, went down to the wire, as the competition seems to do each year, with the top two finishing teams representing diverse geographic backgrounds.
The Aloha Hillbillies, consisting of Charlie Trujillo from Oklahoma City’s Lettering Express and Shane Oliberos of Honolulu’s XERO Wraps, were crowned 2019 WRAPSCON Wrap Olympics champions, outlasting the field in three days of two-man team competition.
For their efforts, each team member took home a huge trophy and a prize package worth nearly $16,000.
The Wrap Olympics featured more than two dozen teams battling head-to-head over three days—six rounds—of competition. Five judges whittled the field down until Saturday afternoon the two finalists were the only teams left competing.
That final stage featured a freestyle wrap, where the two teams were allowed to use whatever colors or types of film they wanted to on the two Chevy Corvettes in the booth. It was their choice whether they would wrap the whole car, just one side, or whatever they wanted to do. Each of the two finalist teams chose to wrap one side of their respective cars.
A large crowd of onlookers watched the judges examine each vehicle, and after they turned in their scorecards emcee Kevin Kempf of New Orleans’ PG Nola announced the winners, noting that after all the scores were tallied the top two teams were separated by only a few points.
The runner-up team was Bulgarian Ninja, comprised of two competitors from the Eastern Hemisphere: Tadashi Kariya of Tokyo’s Design Lab Inc. and Ivan Tenchev Bebo from Bulgaria.
The second-place finishers each took home prize packages worth more than $5,000.
This year’s finalist teams were made up of talented wrap veterans. Tadashi was one-half of Team Samurai, which took the Wrap Olympics crown in 2018, and Bebo won the World Wrap Masters 2018 title at FESPA Global Print Expo 2018.
For his part, champion Trujillo was half of Wrap Dads, WRAPSCON's third-place finishing team in 2018.
Third place this year went to An American and a Canadian walk into a bar … , which was Preston Jordan of Digital Precision of Alpharetta, Georgia, and Phil Aquin with 3M Commercial Solutions.
The third-place finishers’ prize package was worth $3,000 per competitor.
Other stages of the competition included wrapping a skateboard; the door of a Mercedes Sprinter van and a mirror; and a bowling ball and pin. Along with the technical aspects of each wrap, judges also gave high marks for creativity.
James “Ruggs” Kochevar, publisher of Sign & Digital Graphics and WRAPS magazines and organizer of WRAPSCON, says that the Wrap Olympics’ finale Saturday was the perfect capper to what’s become one of the highlights of the year in the wraps industry.
“This was a big year for WRAPSCON at THE NBM SHOW,” Kochevar says. “As we celebrated our humble but meaningful fifth anniversary, we took a nice step forward both in event size and scope, by bringing in a bigger and more diverse list of exhibitors and attendees.
“The WRAPSconnect panel discussion was our finest yet and we had another star-studded international field compete in this year’s Wrap Olympics. Overall, I couldn’t be happier, and plans for next year’s event have already begun!”
Judges for the 2019 WRAPSCON Wrap Olympics were Jen Carney from Carbon Wraps; Luis Tirado from WBC Graphics; Starla Miller from Miller Decals; Adam Sumner from WRAPIX Imaging; and Keith Vu from Savage Wraps.
“The passion, creativity, community and pure talent on display at WRAPSCON was an inspiration!,” says Dave Pomeroy, president of National Business Media, producers of THE NBM SHOWs and WRAPSCON. “We consider ourselves lucky to be in the position of playing host, and I thank everyone in the industry who came together to make this year’s WRAPSCON the best one yet.”
There was a special award this year that’s never been given out before: Samantha Jayne, who competed with Anthony Timmerman of Florida Vehicle Wraps, won the MVP award. Jayne is someone who, before the Wrap Olympics, had never wrapped a vehicle in her life.