BHS Seniors Compete At MWI Comp

Ian Melville, Reporter

For the second year in a row, a group of seniors traveled to Nevada, Missouri to compete at one of the top ten pipe welding schools in the nation, the Missouri Welding Institute (MWI). This is the tenth annual high school division Welding Competition held at MWI. Students from all over the nation went to compete for the grand prize of a full ride scholarship for the Master Pipe Welding and Fitting Course or Master Structural Fitting and Welding Course, along with a Lincoln Ranger 225 Engine-Driven welder. Last year, Battle sent six students to compete, but none brought the prize home. This year, three seniors competed on Jan 30. 

Students who attended the conference said the competition was fierce because students have a shot at something that could make their higher education easier and more interesting for their future. The challenges students face at the competition, according to John Goddard, welding instructor, include a new environment, techniques, and instructors.  

Erich Butler, senior and competitor, said another challenge was overcoming nerves before the competition.

“The challenges we faced were firstly ourselves. What I mean is we are third year welders, which means we know how to weld but when you step into that booth you either keep your nerves calm and show how much time you have. You also have to perfect your craft or you lose it and get frustrated with the way your rod is not arcing or because of the way you are shaking,” Butler said. 

Austin Eivins, senior and 2019 competitor, said another challenge is being in a new environment.

“As students we face the challenges of going out of our comfort zone and going to a new place for a pretty serious test,” Eivins said.

Competitors travel four hours to get to the competition. They are competing against students from all over the nation. Among those include students from Texas and Kansas. 

Despite the intense competition, Goddard said there are many ways to prepare for the competition. 

“Be able to do the test without thinking,” Goddard said. 

Butler also added, “A few ways to prepare for the competition is to simply practice practice practice the two welds that will be done in the competition and ask a lot of questions to your instructors on what you could improve on while making these welds.” 

For Battle to place well at the competition would mean a lot to students, since MWI is ranked nine in the nation for the best pipe welding schools. 

“If we place in the top three, that’s scholarship money to the school and proves we know what we are doing. We know how to adapt to the situation and slow down to understand what to do,” Butler said.

 Goddard also added that placing in the competition would be tremendous because it is such a prestigious conference. 

“The whole of Missouri and students from all around the country, the prizes and the other students put the pressure,” Goddard said.  

No students from Battle placed in the competition.