CHEYENNE, Wyoming – High school students from all over the region are gearing up for the fourth annual Steel Day welding competition as part of a collaboration between Laramie County Community College, Puma Steel and American Institute of Steel Construction.
The 2022 competition will be the biggest yet, with more competitors and more money in scholarships and prizes available than in previous years. The qualifying round will take place from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 at LCCC’s welding lab. For the 20 high school students qualifying for the finals, they will compete at 7 a.m. on Oct. 21 at Puma Steel in Cheyenne, $25,000 in scholarships is up for grabs, most of which can be used at participating Wyoming community colleges. Winners will be recognized at 11 a.m. on Oct. 20 at Puma Steel. All 20 finalists will be awarded a scholarship at different levels and various welding gear. The top welder will be awarded a $4,000 Rex I. Lewis Scholarship to attend LCCC’s welding program.
The competition is a win-win for the college and industry partners, said Sam Graham, LCCC welding instructor.
“(Industry partners) need to be involved with the community in order to make sure they’re getting the type of student or employee they want in the long run,” he said. “Puma Steel has given us a great opportunity to coexist with them, and it’s a big recruiting piece for our program.”
The real winners, however, are the students who can have large portions of their tuition costs covered and win equipment that might help them start their own welding businesses someday, Graham said.
Students will be asked to demonstrate specific welding skills in the qualifying rounds, followed by a written exam and advanced welds in the finals at Puma Steel. Participants will also be invited to tour LCCC’s campus and Puma Steel, with chances to network with industry partners. Lunch will be provided at the final contest.
Since 2009, hundreds of events have taken place around the U.S. as part of national Steel Day, an annual celebration of the structural steel industry sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction and hosted by its members and partners.
The registration deadline is Oct. 18. Those interested in participating should contact Monica Hudson at 307.778.1152 or mhudsonFREELARAMIE. Parents or high school teachers and counselors may register and bring students.