Volume 9, Issue 3                                      May/June  2005

Tint-Off Hat Trick
Three 'Firsts' at the IWFE Tint-off 2005
by Brigid O'Leary

Co-sponsored by the International Window Film Association (IWFA) and Window Film magazine, the fourth annual Auto Film Tint-Off was a heated competition that included all three previous Tint-Off champions, the three other finalists from last year and the addition of some very talented tinters.

We are the Champions
Reclaiming his 2002 title, Danny Sanders of Custom Sun Control in Marietta, Ga. is the World’s Best Auto Tinter for 2005, and the first two-time winner of the title. Sponsored by Gila Distributing, Sanders also became the first person to receive a perfect score during the preliminary rounds. 

“Everything went really smooth,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ win wasn’t a cakewalk, however. Andrew Doiron of Window Kote, St. Petersburg, Fla., placed second by mere seconds in a competition that came down to time. Both Sanders and Doiron scored 51 out of 60 possible points in the finals, Doiron finishing 80 seconds after Sanders. 

In years past, time has been the deciding factor in who would make it to the finals; this year it was used to determine the winner, taking some of the pressure off of the judges, who later told Window Film event promotions manager Hayley Steele that the 2005 event was both the best and the hardest to judge due to the caliber of the competition. The judges, whose identities are anonymous, play a very critical, intense and sometimes pressure filled part of the competition, both for auto and architectural film competitions and had to make judgment calls based on a myriad of criteria. 

That minute-plus made a world of difference, not only for the outcome of the competition but the emotion it left with Doiron.

“I was disappointed that I didn’t win and that it came down to a time thing. That was pretty hard to swallow,” Doiron said of his performance.

Consistently performing at championship level, his 2005 finish marks the third time in four competitions that CPFilms-sponsored Doiron has finished second in the competition.

Third place went to Dan Shaw of Precision Window Tinting in Bremerton, Wash., backed by Johnson Window Films, who was also the winner of the World’s Best Tinter title in 2003.

Gimmie the Prize
In the final component to this year’s “hat trick,” the first World’s Best Tinter for Architectural Glass was also named, the title going to Ron Jones of Film Solutions Unlimited in Sarasota, Fla. Up against five others for the title, Jones faced off against Charlie Arakelian, owner of Northeast Tint Co. in Springfield, Mass., in the finals.

“It was pretty competitive. Everyone was good. Any window up there can be left in a house,” Jones said of the competition.

Not only was Jones excited about his win, so was Madico, his sponsoring company.

“Ron has earned a reputation for being a perfectionist. In fact, he attended our SafetyShield installation training twice! Madico is proud, though not surprised, at Ron’s victory,” said Tom Niziolek, Madico director of sales and marketing.
Though Arakelian, who was sponsored by Bekaert Specialty Films, would have liked to claim the victory for himself, he is using the competition as a starting point and working to improve his performance on day-to-day jobs.

“I am disappointed, of course, for not winning first place, but I’ll have another chance next year! I’ll be practicing on every window I tint until then,” he said. 

One Vision
To this point, the IWFE Tint-Off has evolved considerably since its inception. The first prize was upped to $5,000 this year with approximately $10,000 in prizes given away, it became an all-day event and in between preliminary auto-glass tinting heats the preliminary architectural glass tinting competition and product demonstrations by sponsoring manufacturers Bekaert, Madico and FTI were being held.

Lyle Hill, president of MTH Industries, served as master of ceremonies this year, running commentary throughout the day and providing play-by-play for the live video feed being projected for spectators who remained seated in the public viewing area.

The new set-up resonated with the tinters.

“It was fun, an even, fair competition,” said Jeff Laclave of Sunset Tinting in West Melbourne, Fla., who was competing for the second time. “Having everybody further back, it was perfect.” 

More information about the 2006 International Window Film Conference, Expo and Tint-Off will be published in Window Film magazine and via our monthly online newsletter, Focus on Film, as details become available                                                                                                                                                                WF

Brigid O’Leary is the editor of Window Film magazine.

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