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Featured | Business and IndustryMay 02, 2022

UAFS Awards $6,000 to Welding Rodeo Winners

When the dust cleared at the Welding Rodeo on Friday, April 22, three competitors walked away with $6,000 in college scholarships from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.

Wyatt McElrath, Dayton Pettycord, and Cory Buckman, all representing Western Yell County High School, snared first, second, and third place honors and $2,000 UAFS scholarships at the annual Welding Rodeo.

Dallas Smith from St. Paul High School had the top Written Safety Exam.

The 59 students registered for the competition represent 10 school districts in the region and attend high schools that teach welding as part of their agriculture and general technology programs.

“The UAFS Welding Rodeo is an opportunity for area high school students to compete in a fun and educational experience while highlighting the UAFS welding program,” said Amanda Seidenzahl, Director of the Western Arkansas Technical Center.  “UAFS has a phenomenal welding program that prepares students with industry required skillsets that align with the American Welding Society certification. In addition to the competition, participants have the opportunity to talk with local and regional businesses and learn more about employment opportunities in the area.”

Seidenzahl also noted that the high school instructors accompanying the students engaged in professional development at the event, conducted by industry partners Airgas and Lincoln Electric.

Students who take concurrent courses through the Western Arkansas Technical Center assisted in the event, organizing and guiding the contestants through their various rotations. WATC welding students receive concurrent credit at their high schools and UAFS, earning certificates of proficiency in trades with good prospects for employment at graduation. Many will go on to complete further education, like the associate degree in welding at UAFS – possibly with the winners by their sides.

Students at the rodeo competed in timed arc and MIG welding and took a written exam. Judges were UAFS instructors and Advanced Welding Institute-certified welders.

Event sponsors were Abscom, Airgas, Boyd Metals, Hytrol, Lincoln Electric, and Ryerson.

In addition to scholarships, prizes like welding hoods, torch sets, and grinders were awarded.

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Rachel Rodemann Putman

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