The competitors at Saturday's Nevada Western Regional SkillsUSA Welding Competition had some high expectations.
After all, among them was Don DeGrandmont, who finished second in the competition last year and went on to win the state competition and place second at nationals.
More than 20 high school competitors from across Northern Nevada showcased their skills in four areas: Oxy-acetylene cutting, gas metal arc welding, shielded-metal arc welding and a written test of safety and procedural information.
The students are judged on everything from the basics of safety and cleanliness to the most technical positions, as well as the quality and cleanliness of their welds.
But the stiff competition didn't scare Carson High Senior Jerry Allred, who was competing for his second year.
"I was in auto tech as a freshman and the welding was right next to it. The first time I saw the welders, I knew I wanted to do that," Allred said.
Allred said doing well at a regional competition like this is based on continued work and study.
"I just work as much as I can, it's just doing the practice and study to make sure you are ready for the competition," Allred said.
Carson High School had a strong showing at the competition, with three students placing in the top 10 and one receiving a perfect score on the written test.
"We've been trying to do some extra studying, but we spent a lot of time in the shop," said CHS welding instructor Charles Shirley. "We try not to give up anything on the written test."
Ed Martin, a welding instructor at WNCC, said that the competition allows high school students to see the campus and helps them determine their future career paths.
"This is a good interaction for them, it gets them out to the campus to see what we have and gives them some extra experience," Martin said.
A-L Sierra Welding provides the funding for first, second and third prizes for the event.
"We do it to help better the community. We need to provide welders for this area and there is a shortage, here and nationwide," said Curtis Smith, service tech with A-L Sierra Welding.
Experience won out in the end, with DeGrandmont taking first place and Allred taking second.
The combined scores from the four events determined the top 10, who will join winners from the other two regionals at the state competition at Truckee Meadows Community College in April.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.
Winners at the Nevada Western Regional SkillsUSA Welding Competition on Saturday at Western Nevada Community College
First place: Don DeGrandmont, Regional Technical Institute
Second place: Jerry Allred, Carson High School
Third place: Jesse Johnson, Regional Technical Institute
Fourth place: Ethan Graber, Carson High School
Fifth place: Jonathan Medina, Carson High School
Sixth place: Brennan Manke, Regional Technical Institute
Seventh place: Josh Ogg, Reed High School
Eighth place: Jeff Stone, North Valleys High School
Ninth place: Mike Majera, Regional Technical Institute
10th place: Richard Ferrier, Spanish Springs High School