PRO Cup Challenge: Leading By Example

Every restyler’s a winner in this contest seeking package perfection...

This article originally appeared in the July 2024 issue of THE SHOP magazine.

There are plenty of competitions that take place at the SEMA Show that draw a lot of attention. Only one, however, is designed to show off not just the vehicle builder’s skill, but also products from SEMA manufacturers and the profit potential of attractive packages.

That competition is the PRO Cup Challenge, and the goal is to give restylers examples of successful parts combinations that they can reproduce and sell in their local markets.


It was February 2019, and Restylers United was holding a meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. RU is a group of some of the top restylers in the country who get together periodically to discuss issues and trends affecting the industry.

The biannual meetings often include a “best ideas” competition in which every member presents an idea they believe could benefit the industry or other businesses. You can imagine the great ideas that come from the 15 people at every meeting.

Blue VW Atlas PRO Cup Challenge past winner
Tom Waitzman of DPS in Chicago submitted the winning entry in 2021, a VW Atlas Cross Sport package.

At this particular gathering, one of the restylers, John Prosser of Automotive Concepts in Minneapolis, admitted that while he enjoyed his annual trips to the SEMA Show, the event had begun to feel a bit lackluster over the past few years.

He also felt that the restyling segment as a whole was getting lost in the show. There were plenty of wild SEMA builds, he explained, but none of them were really meant for regular drivers, nor were they easy to replicate.

“We need a competition that highlights what we do on an everyday basis so that fellow restylers or builders that come to the show can duplicate them in their market,” he stated.

It was an eye-opening suggestion for most of us at the meeting. We agreed that, while there’s plenty of value in going to the show to see the latest new products and meet with suppliers, the opportunity to return home with restyling package ideas for our local markets would add tremendous value.

In our industry, thoughtful packages really sell. It is easy to install a leather interior or a lift kit. However, when you create a complete package with multiple items that give customers a personalized feel, it’s a home run.

For many years, restylers have pitched these creative package deals to car dealerships with excellent results. Sometimes, manufacturers whose products are included will share the ideas with other customers, but for the most part these packages go unnoticed by most of the industry.

So, thanks to Prosser’s suggestion, the idea for the PRO Cup Challenge was born.

PCC sign at SEMA 2023
The goal of the PRO Cup Challenge is to give restylers examples of successful parts combinations that they can reproduce and sell in their local markets.


It was quickly determined that the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO), a Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) council, would need to work with SEMA Show officials to make the event happen. That is when fellow restyler Dino Perfetti and myself made it our mission to bring the idea to life.

Perfetti was the PRO Council chairperson at that time, and I was the chair-elect. We met with SEMA staff to discuss the idea and, to be honest, it was initially a struggle convincing them that this was a good idea for the show and for our industry.

We were ultimately successful once they understood that SEMA PRO restylers were going to build vehicles using SEMA PRO manufacturer members’ products to entice shop owners from around the country to come to the SEMA Show as buyers to see the package ideas in person.

With everyone on board, the pilot competition was held at the 2019 SEMA Show.


So, five years later, where is the PRO Cup Challenge now?

Simply put, it is an annual restyling competition in which participants acquire a new car from a local dealership and create an aftermarket package they believe has unique market appeal.

Competitors may only use SEMA PRO manufacturer products and are limited to a budget of $12,500 (wholesale cost) and 40 hours of labor time. The packages are then judged by a professional panel at the SEMA Show on their creativity, mass appeal, ease of replication and profit potential.

The winner’s name is engraved on a perpetual trophy that’s kept at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, and they also receive an individual award they can display in their shop. A “fan favorite” selection is also part of the contest, voted on by SEMA Show attendees. Those winners are also recognized with a trophy.

Past winners include:


  • Winner – Automotive Concepts, Minneapolis, Subaru Crosstrek “Basecamp Edition”
  • Fan Favorite – Specialty Auto Treatments, Ft. Lauderdale


  • SEMA Show canceled due to COVID


  • Winner – DPS, Chicago, VW Atlas Cross Sport
  • Fan Favorite – Automotive Concepts, Minneapolis, 2021 Ford Bronco


  • Winner – Automotion Creations, Georgia, Toyota Rav4
  • Fan Favorite – Top Coverage LTD, Illinois, 2021 Ford F-150 Lightning


  • Winner – Auto Sunroof & Leather, New York, Subaru Crosstrek “Ruff Rider”
  • Fan Favorite – VIP Distributing, St. Louis, 2023 GMC Yukon XL Denali
PCC display screen at SEMA 2023
Competitors may only use SEMA PRO manufacturer products and are limited to a budget of $12,500 (wholesale cost) and 40 hours of labor time.


Sound like fun? It is! So, whether you represent a restyling shop or a parts manufacturer, consider getting involved in this year’s competition.

There’s more news to come on the 2024 edition of the PRO Cup Challenge, but it will again offer participants, manufacturers and show-goers a chance to see creative restyling packages up-close—it’s a real win/win/win!

Shops looking to participate in the 2024 PRO Cup Challenge at the SEMA Show can visit sema.org/pro for entry information. Manufacturers looking to get involved should email deniselw@sema.org.


Josh Poulson

Named the 2022-23 SEMA Person of the Year, Josh Poulson is the principal of Auto Additions in Columbus, Ohio, which was named Restyler of the Year, 2012-13. Auto Additions offers a complete line of product upgrades including 12V and appearance packages with a specific focus on the dealership segment. Josh is chairman of the SEMA PRO council.

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