The Flagstaff High School Welding Team took first place in the Welding Thunder Expo and Fabrication Contest in Verde Valley over the weekend.

The five-student team competed against eight other groups to build the best meat smoker during the contest at the Verde Valley Fair Grounds on Oct. 25 and 26. 

It was the first time the team had ever entered the fabrication contest. FHS teachers Mike Rust and Wes King helped the team of five high schoolers prepare for the competition, which required them to bring all their own equipment and be set up for a mobile welding site. 

The FHS welding team spent countless hours preparing the tooling, equipment and materials for the fabrication contest. They even practiced the project twice from start to finish in accordance with the specifications and plans laid out by the competition committee.

On Saturday, judges assessed the teams’ accuracy, blueprints, weld quality, teamwork and overall quality of the smokers. The Flagstaff High School Welding Team won first place for best fabricated product and second place for best equipment and workstation appearance.

After the judging, all the teams fired up their smokers and cooked a barbecue lunch.

Welding is a long-standing Career and Technical Education program at FHS. It is supported Joint Technological Education District — Coconino Association for Vocations, Industry and Technology.

Michelle McManimon can be reached at 556-2261 or MMcManimon@azdailysun.com.

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