Returning for a second straight year to Long Beach, California, and WRAPSCON, Team Samurai outdueled the competition and took home the championship trophy in the 2018 WRAPSCON Wrap Olympics.
WRAPSCON was part of THE NBM SHOW in Long Beach Aug. 2-4.
Tadashi Kariya of Japan’s Design Lab Inc. and Keiichi Hasegawa of Toronto’s c17media once again paired up as Team Samurai and bested second-place finishers Team Remix from Remix Wraps in an exciting final round of competition near the close of THE NBM SHOW on Saturday afternoon.
“We entered last year and we finished in fourth place,” a smiling Hasegawa said after the judges pronounced his team the victors. “So that was our revenge for us.”
For their efforts the champions earned a prize package worth more than $7,500 each and, of course, bragging rights in the wraps world for the next year.
The Wrap Olympics pits two-person teams against each other in a series of competitions testing different aspects of their wrapping skills. Each stage of the competition poses unique challenges, whether it’s wrapping a tricky car door, a motorcycle helmet or a brick wall. Different surfaces and different types of vinyl make for a lively challenge, and the WRAPSCON booth area was a popular one for show attendees watching the competitors throughout all three days, with a large crowd gathered for the final competition in which the final two teams had to wrap one half of a Chevy Cruze in a limited amount of time, using a design of their own creation.
Both teams—Team Samurai and Team Remix—were still laying vinyl even as emcee Kevin Kempf of PG Nola was warning them, “one minute guys … forty-five seconds … thirty seconds … ”
Asked afterwards how their nerves had held up over the previous three days, Hasegawa posed the question to his partner—whose English is limited—and then responded, “He was pretty chill. He was enjoying the competition. But I was pretty stressed because I wanted to finish as high as possible.”
Blake Madsen and Nash Kirchoff were the competitors for Team Remix. Remix Wraps is located in Farmington, Minnesota, just outside Minneapolis/St. Paul.
The third place finisher was Wrap Dads, which featured Charlie Trujillo and Jamie Mullica. The pair represented LE Wraps, which is headquartered in Oklahoma City with a second location in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Team Remix took home a prize package worth more than $3,500 each for their second place finish, and Wrap Dads claimed a prize package worth more than $1,500 each for finishing third.
Other highlights of WRAPSCON 2018 included WRAPSCONnect, a freewheeling panel discussion featuring some of the world’s top installers; and Meet the Masters, a happy-hour style event in which show attendees could meet and talk to some of the legends in the industry.
“For all the moving parts that is WRAPSCON, I think we took a nice step forward this year," says James "Ruggs" Kochevar, publisher of WRAPS and Sign & Digital Graphics magazines. "WRAPSconnect, Meet the Masters and of course the Wrap Olympics were all big hits. We saw international competitors, attendees and exhibitors alike. We had record sponsor participation as well. I couldn’t be happier. Plans have already begun for next year’s event.”
WRAPS magazine and its parent company, Broomfield, Colorado-based National Business Media, would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of the judges for the Wrap Olympics: Starla Miller of Miller Decals; Jen Carney of Carbon Wraps; Keith Vu of Savage Wraps; Luis Tirado of WBC Graphics; and Adam Sumner of Wrapix; as well as our emcee, Kevin Kempf.
We would also like to thank all the presenters and attendees, and we hope you’ll join us next year for WRAPSCON 2019.
Most of all, we’d like to thank all of our WRAPSCON sponsors who make this event possible: Mutoh America; ORAFOL; The Wrap Institute; Roland DGA; DUB IR; Mimaki; 3M; KPMF; OKI/Color Painter; HEXIS; Montroy Sign & Graphic Products; General Formulations; Alltak; and Grimco.
Watch this space in the coming weeks as we bring you more photos, interviews and more from WRAPSCON 2018.