Wallace State hosts welding contest for aspiring north Alabama welders

Booths were packed as competition was underway for 151 welding students from all across north Alabama. (Gauge Day)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College Welding hosted an intense welding competition Friday, March 1, showcasing the talents of high school students from across north Alabama. Held in Wallace State’s new, state-of-the-art welding facility, the event drew 151 students from approximately 31 schools, highlighting the profound interest in welding as both a skill and a potential career path.

The competition was divided into three categories: First Year, Advanced and AG (Agriculture), each designed to challenge the participants’ welding proficiency and creativity. The AG students were challenged with welding one bead on a T-joint with a 7018 rod and one bead on a T-joint with a 6010 rod. The First-Year students were tasked with welding a horizontal T-joint with three 6010 beads and one vertical T-joint with three 7010 beads of three different lengths. The Advanced category took on the most challenging assortment of tasks, welding a vertical groove weld with a 6010 root pass and 7018 for the fill and cover passes.

Wallace State Welding Instructor Melanie Patterson expressed her enthusiasm for the event, noting the impressive turnout and the high level of competition. “I loved seeing the students work hard and encourage each other. Some of the welds that we saw were excellent, so I see the potential for them to do great things with welding if they pursue it as a career. Whether or not they ever work as welders, I hope they remember the competition as a moment that made them proud of themselves,” Patterson said.

The competition was judged by personnel from the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa pipe union, ensuring that the evaluations were held to high standards.

As the competition drew to a close, the top five competitors in each category were announced, with the top three of each group being awarded prizes.

AG – Top Five

1) Wyatt Lamar – Arab

2) Adam Garcia – Crossville

3) Bryson Ivey – Arab

4) Dawson Wilson – Arab

5) Jeremiah Ergle – Arab

First Year – Top Five

1) Braxton Daugherty, Dekalb County Technology Center

2) Noah Brothers, Dekalb County Technology Center

3) Eli Dix, Grissom

4) Xylenn Palm, Jemison High School

5) Caleb Cromer, Dekalb County Technology Center

Advanced – Top Five

1) Blaine Chambers, Morgan County Schools Technology Park

2) Jackson McMillian, Blount County Career Technical Center

3) Grayson Roberts, East Limestone

4) Brandon Vazquez, Dekalb County Technology Center

5) Kevin Salas, AP Brewer

Blaine Chambers, the winner of the Advanced category, was awarded the grand prize – a welding machine courtesy of Altec Industries. This top prize, along with a selection of welding gear and shop tools, holds an estimated value of $1,000.

Furthermore, five students’ welds passed visual inspection and will be further tested (a bend test) to see if they will get a weld qualification at a later date.

WSCC Welding Department Chairman Randy Hammond praised the event’s success, saying, “I was very well pleased with the welding competition. The quality of the students’ welds was impressive. We appreciate the high school welding instructors taking the initiative to bring their students, and we appreciate the sponsors who donated prizes. I’m looking forward to next year’s competition.”

For more information about Wallace State Community College, call 866-350-9722 or visit www.wallacestate.edu. To learn more about the welding programs offered at Wallace State, contact Randy Hammond at 256-352-8272 or randy.hammond@wallacestate.edu.