Color Compass leads the automotive refinish and specialty market distribution industries by providing sustainable and profitable business solutions.

ATA Hosts Inaugural Collision Olympics at Its Annual Trade Show

A unique competition brings teams from member shops and high school students together to compete in estimating, body repair, and auto refinishing, while promoting industry excellence and community engagement.

by Theresa Jachnycky, director, Automotive Trades Association (ATA) of Manitoba

At its annual trade show on October 27, 2023, the Automotive Trades Association (ATA) of Manitoba will host the first-ever Collision Olympics in Winnipeg. The Collision Olympics is a competition where teams will compete against each other in three activities: estimating, body repair, and auto refinishing. Enrollment in the competition is open to all ATA member shops. A high school version of the Collision Olympics is also planned for the same day at an earlier time.

Each team consists of three players: an estimator, a collision repair technician, and a refinishing technician. Using an estimate scrubber to generate an estimate, and virtual simulators Sprayverse®and WeldVR® to paint and weld a vehicle, the teams’ objective is to score the most total points. Total prize money for the top three teams is $10,000.

The idea for the Collision Olympics belongs to Rob Boyce, member-at-large of the ATA’s Board of Directors. Rob pitched the competition to the Board last year as yet another way for the ATA to cultivate community and deepen connections with its members and others. 

Asked how he came up with the idea for an Olympic-like competition, Rob explained, “It was a result of not wanting the trade show to go away [by] finding an angle that would draw people in. As a wholesale market, people living in Manitoba are constantly in search of value. Having an event where people could win something or get free giveaways is important in our market.”

As a sports guy himself, the idea of holding a competition was also intriguing to Rob because, as he points out, “It can bring groups together as players, spectators, coaches and mentors, and sponsors.” It is especially important to Rob and the ATA’s board that its annual trade show is an event that draws in “[people from the entire] shop and not just a select few [people] who willingly want to attend an after-work event without pay.”

Supporting Rob’s pitch that competition can also foster closeness and teamwork is the article The Psychology of Competition, where Sander van der Linden writes, “For most people there is something inexplicably compelling about the nature of competition. [For one thing], competitions are fun and useful for raising awareness and achieving short-term goals.”

For shops and other enterprises in Manitoba’s collision repair industry, attending an event like the Collision Olympics at its annual trade show, is somewhat akin to “The team that eats together, stays together,” meaning it helps build a spirit of cooperation within individual businesses and throughout the industry.

Some might argue that painting and welding using virtual simulators does not qualify as an Olympic sport (perhaps not in its present form). However, not so long ago, between 1912 and 1948, the Olympic Games focused on both art and sport, including categories such as painting, music, and sculpture. Also, while the concept of what activity qualifies as a sport is debateable, the Oxford English Dictionary defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” So, for us at the ATA, our competition satisfies the litmus test and qualifies as an Olympic calibre event.

Being a competitor takes courage. As Kelly Hunter, a regular at trade competitions, observes, “Putting oneself out there for scrutiny isn’t easy.  It takes a lot of concentration and preparation to perform at one’s best.  It gets easier over time, though it is still nerve wracking.  The best part of taking part in competitions like these is that it drives and encourages one to practice and become even more proficient in one’s chosen trade. As a competitor, one is motivated to brush up on all the techniques, experiment with new things, and work to rectify your slipups.”

Rob Boyce, member-at-large, ATA Board of Directors


Getting back to the topic at hand, namely the Collision Olympics and its goal of building community engagement within the ATA and in Manitoba’s collision repair industry, people who join associations do so to feel a part of something. And since people differ, their motivation to be involved and invested also differs.  For the ATA then, it’s important that its offerings create a diverse range of experiences that generate value for everyone.

For instance, take the ATA’s supplier members. Like shops, they are integral to the health and growth of Manitoba’s collision repair industry.  Their ongoing support and sponsorship enable the ATA to put on its various events. In return, the ATA’s annual trade show headlining the Collision Olympics will help sponsors connect with existing and potential customers, showcase their brand, create new professional relationships and, if they sponsor the winning teams, secure bragging rights as the Brand Collision Olympic Champions Trust.

At the high school level, the goal of the Collision Olympics is to increase exposure to the trades for young people as the autobody painter and autobody repairer trades are underrepresented within the general employment market in Manitoba. The Collision Olympics build on the ATA’s Skill’s initiative where the focus is on creating awareness and attracting youth. 

Women are also generally underrepresented in the trades, and the same holds true for refinish and collision repair in Manitoba. The ATA’s Trade Show and Collision Olympics is a great way for women to come, do some networking, and even compete. Manitoba is already home to young, inspirational women working in the trade, and it is fair to say, many of the people with the Manitoba industry are not even aware of this. Hopefully, our national and worldclass competitors are on hand to showcase their skill and continue to inspire other women to become involved.

Be sure to mark October 27 on you calendar and come out in support of your colleagues and the ATA. Help make the Collision Olympics an event not to be missed!