University Relations and Communications

City College hosts SkillsUSA Automotive Refinishing Technology competition Tuesday, March 29

SkillsUSA Automotive Refinishing Competition


Event begins at 9 a.m. at City College, 3011 2nd Ave. N 


March 24, 2016


Ed Becker, Collision Refinishing Instructor: 247-3042
University Relations and Communications: 657-2243 


Story by Blair Koch, University Relations and Communications intern


Five students enrolled at City College at Montana State University of Billings will be engaged in an intense, but friendly rivalry as one will take the state SkillsUSA Automotive Refinishing Technology title. The winner will then compete on the national level in June, which is held in Louisville, KY.


The last time City College hosted this portion of the automotive SkillsUSA competition was in 2013, but as the school is now the only facility offering a two-year degree in automobile collision repair and refinishing in Montana, the college will likely house the event for years to come.


“It’s been a matter of rebuilding the program to a level necessary to have the competition,” said Ed Becker, collision refinishing instructor.

The automobile collision repair and refinishing program now has 11 students, five of which will will compete March 29 at City College. Becker said that although one of them is guaranteed a place at nationals, Tuesday’s event will not be easy.


Contestants must demonstrate many skills based on a task list outlined by the National Institute for Automotive Excellence and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation. The competition includes workstations where competitors must be assessed on skills like surface preparation, spray gun operation, paint mixing, paint matching and applying, solving paint application problems, determining defects and safety precautions. They will also complete an interview, repair estimate and an ASE written exam. Overall scores will be based on the appearance of finished products, the speed of completion and following proper safety practices.


“I think this is a pretty big deal for City College,” said competitor Austin Schultz, 20, of Richey. “Hopefully, it will draw some interest into the program.”


Schultz said he’ll be rooting for his fellow classmates. “One of us will get to go to nationals, so we’re all excited.”


Amanda Fergerson, 28, of Hardin, echoed that sentiment.


“We’re all friends in class but I think the competition is going to get pretty intense,” she said.


City College will send additional students to the SkillsUSA Montana State Leadership & Skills Conference April 4-6, At MSU Northern in Havre. They include students competing in welding, diesel technology and automotive service.


For more information about SkillsUSA, visit


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City College 2014 Graduate places in top 10 at national competition