SALT LAKE CITY — There was a new venue, a new state, a new slate of tested competitors — there was even a snowstorm whipping around outside the Salt Palace Convention Center.
But in the end, the second Top Tech Challenge saw 2017 defending champion Brandon Galbreath of D&N RV Service in Guntersville, Ala., hold onto the trophy and win the $10,000 prize in a tight finish over the same tech who finished second in 2017, John Larson of Nevada Mobile RV Service in Minden, Nevada.
Third place went to Aaron Bashore of Tom Schaeffer’s Camping and Travel Center in Shoemakersville, Pa.
Other competitors, who went through rigorous testing to gain a spot in the competition, were Thomas Gordon of Ocala Camping World in Ocala, Fla.; Chris Page of Affinity RV in Prescott, Ariz.; and Bradley Wingfield of McClain’s RV Superstore in Corinth, Texas.
Contestants completed six challenges in which an RV system was designed to fail in a specific way. The technicians had to diagnose the problem at each station within 15 minutes. They were judged on accuracy as well as the time it took them to complete the challenge.
With hundreds of people in the ball room and video and still cameras surrounding the technicians as ’80s music pounded overhead and T-shirts and other freebies were chucked into the cheering crowd, some of the technicians admitted to being a little nervous at the beginning of the competition, but not Galbreath.
“I’m very good at ignoring,” he said, drawing a laugh from the crowd.
Galbreath said the challenges were quite a bit different from what he expected after the 2017 competition.
“The way the competition was set up with the faults and the things we had to find, it was more about a speed-based decision,” he said.
Sponsors of the Top Tech Challenge were Dometic, Airxcel, Thetford/Norcold and Lippert Components.