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SEMA Battle of the Builders Panel to Kick-Off 2023 Keystone BIG Show Tomorrow


Keystone BIG ShowKeystone Automotive Operations announced it will open the 2023 BIG Show Presented by Weather Guard—its annual customer event—with a live demonstration showcasing the 2022 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition finalists and winners. The annual customer-only, business-to-business networking event, to be held for the first time in Colorado at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, February 10–11, will feature receptions, an array of automotive aftermarket exhibitor displays, new products, show vehicles and education, along with substantial show-only sales and promotions.

Led by Emmy Award-winning host, Chris Jacobs, best known for his work on “Overhaulin’” and Mecum Auctions as well as a number of Discovery live specials, the interactive 2023 Battle of the Builders Panel will provide an exclusive, insiders perspective into what it takes to compete and win on the world’s largest automotive stage.

Longtime automotive aftermarket industry veteran, SEMA Vice President of Marketing RJ de Vera—a former Battle of the Builders judge for many years—will be introduced to provide his insight along with the history and background of the competition as it has evolved over the years.

“The SEMA Show and The BIG Show are about building meaningful connections; connecting jobbers and shops with the suppliers and manufacturers whose products they install on customers vehicles every day,” said de Vera. “SEMA is proud that this competition creates an opportunity for all builders at every level from multiple aspects of the business to be recognized for their creativity, skill and dedication. While this panel represents some of the industry's elite builders, their efforts in overcoming challenges on the path to accomplishing their goals will resonate with each attendee.”

Joining Jacobs and de Vera will be two-time Battle of the Builders champions Mike and Jim Ring of Ringbrothers, who captured the title at the 2022 SEMA Show with their one-of-a-kind ’48 Chevy Loadmaster Truck. Having also taken the overall prize in 2019, Ringbrothers also took top honors in the Off-Road and Truck category at last year’s Show with their custom K5 Blazer.

Representing the future of customization on the stage will be 2022 Battle of the Builders Young Guns winner and overall finalist Josh Michels. At just 22 years old, Michels rescued a ’66 Corvette from a field in Wisconsin and transformed the classic into a modern supercar to take top honors in his class in 2022. Rounding out the panel will be Russell Built Fabrications’ TJ Russell, who parlayed his expertise in vehicle development and customization along with his passion for off-road racing to take the class win in the Sport Compact, Luxury and Exotics division last year with his ’91 Porsche “Baja” 911.

“The SEMA Battle of the Builders is the greatest custom vehicle competition on the world’s largest automotive aftermarket stage,” said Keystone Automotive Operations Vice President Category Management & Marketing and a member of the SEMA Board of Directors Larry Montante. “Each of the individuals on this panel, representing multiple facets of vehicle building and customization has a unique story to share. We are looking forward to hearing their perspective on their motivation, how they approach their business and sharing with attendees how entering and winning a competition like Battle of the Builders can help attract customers by showcasing their talents with these high-profile builds.”

The SEMA Battle of the Builders Panel will be held on February 10, at 4:30 p.m., at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in the Aurora Ballroom for registered BIG Show attendees only. Show attendees will also have a chance to visit with the panelists throughout the event while viewing the Ringbrothers’ 2022 winning vehicles along with Greg Ward’s ’71 Toyota FJ40 Landcruiser—a Top 4 finalist in the 4-Wheel Drive & Off-Road category.

For more information about SEMA Battle of the Builders, visit For more information about the Keystone BIG Show, click here.