Welding competition to debut at 4-H-O-Rama in July
By Ryan McGeeney
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- New welding event introduced
- 14 participants signed up for inaugural event
- Will eventually mirror national event, organizers said
LITTLE ROCK — Fourteen Arkansas youths will compete in the inaugural welding competition at this year’s 4-H-O-Rama, taking place July 21-24.
Noah Washburn, 4-H youth development program director for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said similar competitions have been part of 4-H in other states for years, and are typically included in the organization’s engineering competitions at the national level.
“The national event has several of the STEM-related, hands-on competitions,” Washburn said, referring to curricula based on science, technology, engineering and math. “We’ve been talking about getting back to some of the basic, hands-on skill sets in our 4-H program.”
Washburn said two welding learning opportunities for 4-H youth had been held in Arkansas over the preceding months, organized by county extension personnel in Crittenden and Ouachita counties.
Cynthia Rorie, a 4-H agent for the Crittenden County Cooperative Extension Service in Marion, organized one of the events, in which Scott Bolden, owner of Victory Fabrication LLC and a certified welder, gave local participants the chance to work with materials first-hand. She said welding is a sought-after profession in her county.
“In our area, a lot of kids go to Vo-Tech schools, or just work straight out of high school, so our high schools are lined up to prepare them for such careers,” Rorie said.
Although competitors at national 4-H welding competitions are typically tasked with completing three welds, Washburn said, the 14 individuals competing at the State-O-Rama will be asked to complete only two welds, which will help organizers stay within time constraints.
The contest will include a written examination, testing participants on their knowledge of safety and materials, a shielded arc metal welding skills event, and an identification test, in which participants must properly identify welding materials, tools and materials.
The welding competition will be held at 8 a.m. Thursday, July 23, at the Agri and Bio Engineering Research Lab as part of the 4-H-O-Rama in Fayetteville.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service