ABAT’s Texas Auto Body Trade Show this weekend with “Big Shots” contest and celebrity guests

ABAT’s Texas Auto Body Trade Show this weekend with “Big Shots” contest and celebrity guests

By Lurah Bassey
on
Organizations | Collision Repair | Education

The directory Texas Auto Body Showhosted by the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT), is happening this weekend with the Big Shots contest, exhibits, a car show, tool demonstrations and more, plus two celebrity guests.

The show will take place August 26 and 27 at the Irving Convention Center with training sessions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The showroom will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Pre-register for the show here or at the door. Entrance to the fair and the exhibition hall as well as to view the competition is free. Classes are $40 each or an all-access pass is $225. The legislative lunch is $100.

ABAT executive director Jill Tuggle told Repairer Driven News that the biggest change this year that entrants will see is “growth in some areas, but particularly in our Big Shots contest.”

“This competition was the brainchild of Burl [Richards, ABAT president] and something he was very excited about a few years ago,” Tuggle said. “During the first go-around, we didn’t have time to succeed. Last year we decided to go ahead and it went much better than expected and got so much attention and excitement that we decided to keep going with it but make it again bigger. One of the things that was important to Burl was that it be realistic. Although we had to respect certain parameters, being inside a convention center rather than an auto body shop presented certain difficulties and challenges for us in the planning process, but we try to stick to to that – wanting to make it realistic and accurate.

Competitors will show off their skills in painting, estimating, reproducing seam sealant and plastic repair, or bonding dent removal. Winners will receive a $1,000 cash prize and tools, and have their photo taken for the cover of Texas Automotive Magazine. While the competition was almost entirely virtual last year, that won’t be the case this year, Tuggle said. The preliminary qualifying rounds will be virtual, then the finalists will move on to a live competition on the show floor or at the nearby Sherwin Williams Training Center, where the final round of paint will take place.

One of the celebrity guests of the show, Horny Mike of the History Channel’s ‘Counting Cars’, will judge the painting competition. Show attendees will meet Mike and Dave Kindig from Motortrend TV’s ‘Bitchin’ Rides’ and may also get a chance to rub shoulders with them at the show’s after party. Those interested can obtain an invitation to the after party on the ABAT stand.

Education sessions at the show will, as always, focus on current industry issues, Tuggle said. There will be an OEM panel on electric vehicles, a panel on the current shortage of technicians and – new this year – a legislative luncheon. A panel will talk about what the industry can expect from the upcoming Texas legislative session and discuss some of the industry’s past challenges. Panelists will be Texas Representatives Travis Clardy (R-District 11) and Ramón Romero, Jr. (D-District 90); Ware Wendell, executive director of Texas Watch; Jacob Smith, ABAT lobbyist; Pete Tagliapietra, CEO of Datatouch; and Richards.

“We will also take time to educate them [legislators] on some of the issues that are really at the forefront of our industry right now,” including data privacy, Tuggle said.

In addition to the three round tables, the nine courses offered at the salon will cover everything from going rate to total loss, data sharing, billable hours, repair scheduling, and more. At least three of the courses are already full.

There will also be a special event for women who attend the show or are the companions of the participants which includes a $20 wine tasting and a free charcuterie board on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

PICTURES

ABAT logos and professional and secondary trade shows (Credit: ABAT)

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