Welding Skill Showdown at Industries to ShowCase Skills learned in academy

Morris: More than 70 students from across the state of Minnesota, including students from Morris and Hancock, visited the welding school at Superior Industries/Westmor to test their welding prowess in a Welding Showdown on Thursday, May 5. During the competition, the students were given 25 minutes to complete a dual application welding assignment in the school’s lab using both shielded metal arc welding and gas metal arc welding.

This year, three judges and four additional assistants helped organize the competition, which ran from 7 a.m. until early afternoon at the training center. Judges graded the finished project on proper weld bead placement, uniformity, blueprint reading and other factors. “You can have a golden arm, but if you’re unable to follow instructions according to the blueprint it’s an automatic rejection in our competition,” said Dave Dybdal, one of the instructors at Superior’s welding training school. “At the end of the day, the kids quickly realize the skills they need to sharpen for better proficiency.”

The top two finishers, Colden Helberg from Morris Area High School and Brent Baerenwald from Pipestone, took home a Lincoln 140 GMAW Welder and a welding helmet donated by Lincoln Electric Company. The rest of the top five finishers were from Morris Area High School students Brandon Crow (third), Steven Koehl (fourth) and Jose Sperr (fifth). They received an educational welding gear ready pack donated by the Superior Welding Training Center.

The competition is one of the ways Superior is working to bring more welders into the profession.

“As many people now know, it’s getting harder and harder to find skilled trade workers in America,” said Dybdal. “Our competition is about getting kids under the hood and allows them to see, feel, listen and even smell the great benefits of a career in welding.”

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