Welders take gold at Skills USA

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When it comes to earning a perfect gold, College of Eastern Utah's welding department students were perfect last weekend when they brought home eight gold medals from the SkillsUSA state-wide competition held in Salt Lake City. According to instructor Mike Tryon, CEU entered eight students in the competition and all eight brought home gold medals.

"All these young men spent approximately four months training two to three hours a day outside of our regular college time preparing for these competitions. If you can find a student with excellent work ethics, an overwhelming amount of dedication combined with a vicious competitive nature ... you have the ability to produce champions," Tryon said about his student's success at the state-wide competition.

In the welding fabrication team secondary level (high school students attending CEU): Carbon High School student's Damian Olsen from Helper, and Dexter Thayn and Austin Welch from Price earned gold medals.

In the welding fabrication team post-secondary level (CEU freshmen and sophomores), Taylor Behling from Ferron, Chad Cloward from Wellington, and Shawn Devereaux from Elmo also earned gold medals.

In the individual welding competition secondary level, Jesse Bigelow from East Carbon earned a gold medal. He attends Carbon High School while Dylan Olson, Helper, earned first in the post secondary level from CEU.

The Welding Fabrication contest consists of a team of three students to use their auto cad, welding and fabrication skills to build a designed-theme project supplied by the Utah SkillsUSA committee. Each team is required to be skilled with common fabrication tools, drawings, welding symbols and these welding processes: FCAW, SMAW, GMAW, GTAW and OFC.

This year's supplied theme was a welding cart with the following material list: one - 36" x 48" 10-gage sheet metal, four – 1" x 1" x.065 wall square tubing, one – 1/2" x 24" round stock, one – 1/4" x 4" x 60" flat bar, one – 18" of number two chain and four – wheels or casters as determined by each team.

From this list the students were required to draw their own plans and utilize 90 percent of the material listed above.

For the individual welding contest the students receive a set of drawings with specific instructions to run through a series of timed stations to build a steel project with the following welding processes: GMAW (gas-metal arc welding), FCAW (Flux-cored arc welding), SMAW (shielded-metal arc welding), GTAW (Gas-tungsten arc welding) and OFC (Oxyfuel cutting).

The steel projects are scored by certified welding inspectors verifying proper workmanship techniques measuring correct size of welds, proper location of each specific process, size and quality of OFC cuts, layout dimensions and final distortion of the finished project.

CEU will take all the winners to compete in the national SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, Mo., in June where, according to welding instructor Lon Youngberg, "they will be competing against other state champions and the competition is extremely intense". CEU welding students have earned national medals for past four years straight.

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