Central Lakes College Hosts Welding Competition
Today marked the American Welding Society’s annual Behind the Mask Welding Competition hosted this year by Central Lakes College in Brainerd. The competition brought in over 100 students from universities and career and technical colleges all across Minnesota to compete in welding skills challenges.
“Every year we host this event for individuals, it’s mostly college students that compete but sometimes it’s professionals as well,” Jay Gerdin, a welding instructor at Anoka Technical College an an organizer of the competition, said.
Welding is the combining of metal and metal alloys through an immense amount of heat. And it serves an important purpose in society.
“All your buildings that you go into that are more than one story, you know, a lot of one story buildings are schools, office buildings in your state and local communities, all probably have some welding structures in them,” Gerdin said. “The stairwells, all have ironwork that go into them.”
In addition to the competition, the event also had a raffle and welding simulations in the lobby. While the competition isn’t held in Brainerd every year, Central Lakes College was happy to jump on the hosting train this year.
“It’s kind of an opportunity for us to show off what we have here,” David Otto, welding instructor at Central Lakes College, said. “It’s pretty exciting. This shop has been revitalized a little bit in the last couple of years with a lot of new equipment and upgrades and it’s really neat to be able to get that out in the public and let other schools see that and brainstorm with the other instructors about what they’re doing and what we’re doing to make welding a better experience for everyone.”
Next year’s location for the competition hasn’t been selected yet, but it will be faced with a tall task, as this year’s competition at Central Lakes College is the largest in the competition’s history.
After the competition, the American Welding Society hosted an awards banquet, where the winners of the competition were announced.