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High school seniors compete in 3rd annual welding contest at MSU-WP


Fourteen area high school seniors participated in the third annual welding contest hosted Jan. 19 by Missouri State University-West Plains’ workforce development office.

The students represented the Cabool, Licking, Plato and West Plains school districts, as well as the Piney River Technical Center in Houston.

The contest took place at the Pace Industrial Science Center on the MSU-WP campus.

“Our third annual welding competition was another great success,” said Sheila Barton, director of workforce development. “This annual event continues to support our high school and career and technical education students by providing them with the opportunity to prepare for the future and fund their education.”

The competition included written and hands-on welding tests. The students were provided instructions on the types of welds that were required and judged on 10 specific areas, including the weld process, joint and position, Barton said.

Winners were Ryan Steinbrink, Plato High School, first place; Keaton Goetz, Piney River Technical Center, second place; and Curtis Wright, Cabool High School, third place.

Judges for the event were Bill Adams of Adams Construction, Danny Lilo of Airgas, and Dylan Tribble of West Plains Recycling Center.

Scholarship awards in the amounts of $1,000, $750 and $500 were presented to the first, second and third place finishers, respectively. In addition to the scholarships, winners received a trophy, welding hoods, a Dewalt grinder and wheels, welding tools, gloves and various other welding-related items.

Leonardo DRS sponsored the $1,000 top scholarship, and senior process engineer Steve Russell, presented the award.

“We are proud to help support such a great program offered in our community and look forward to hiring students from the program,” Russell said.

Chuck Cook, welding and fabrication instructor at MSU-WP, said he was impressed with the skills displayed by the participants and their readiness to compete, explaining they had been taught well in their high school or vocational programs. Their abilities reflected their instructors’ leadership, he added.

“The level of participation was encouraging and shows the future of the welding industry,” he said. “There is a need for skilled trades, and each of these students will have an opportunity to learn new skills and have a career in the welding and fabrication industry.”

All contest participants received a T-shirt sponsored by Adams Construction and other prizes donated by Airgas, Brocaw Bearing and Industrial Supply, Westlake Ace Hardware, and Hirsch Feed and Farm Supply. Lunch was sponsored by Caterpillar.

Other financial sponsors included The Steel Yard, Hughes Towing, West Plains Recycling, Mr. Dent, L & R Industries, Leonardo DRS and Perennial Energy.

Participants also had the opportunity to visit with representatives from MSU-WP’s admissions office and learn more about the university’s technology programs and careers in welding.

For more information about the welding contest or the technical programs offered by MSU-WP, contact Cook at 417-255-7787 or email CCook@MissouriState.edu.