This archived article was written by: Tylor Christmas
College of Eastern Utah’s Mason Winters is competing in a national welding competition in Las Vegas this week for a chance to represent the United States in an international welding competition.
The competition is the American Welding Society (AWS) U.S. Trials and is the biggest in collegiate welding. It is being held at the AWS convention in Las Vegas this week. The convention typically has a turnout of between five and six thousand people. The ASW is paying for Winter’s hotel, plane ticket, and any other amenities.
At the tournament, Winters will be given 19 hours in three days to complete the different welding tasks including: welding two four-inch metal pipes together, an assortment of sheet metal projects where he will be tested welding different sizes and angles, welding two plates together, and the use of a pressure vessel where his welds will be forced to contain 1000 psi of water pressure.
Winters will be isolated in a booth without contact from his instructors until the competition is through. The judges will be looking for workmanship, technique and durability. The welds will undergo a bending test to determine their strength and will also be x-rayed for faults.
The AWS US Trials is held every other year and to qualify, one must have ranked in the top twelve of the National Finals in Kansas City, Missouri in either of the two years. Out of those 12, the top six go to Las Vegas, Nevada where the winner of this competition will advance to compete in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to represent the United States in an international competition against half a dozen foreign nations in fall of 2009.
To qualify for the tournament in Kansas City, the competitors must win their state’s competition. Winters won the Utah state welding competition held at Salt Lake Community College and advanced to the national finals in Kansas City last July where he took first place among more than 40 different state champions.
The College of Eastern Utah has become quite notorious in the state level having won state seven times in the last eight years. In those seven years, each participant also ranked highly on the national level.
According to Lon Youngberg, an instructor in the welding department, Winters has competed in three national tournaments, once in high school and twice in college. Last year he took second in nationals, and had a year of eligibility left, so he came back to CEU to train for the gold medal.
Lon Youngberg said that Winters has been training vigorously for the competition and has advised him on several occasions to relax. Winter’s technique, he said, has become quite impressive and while demonstrating a sheet metal model, he believes Winters has what it takes to win the competition.
As of press time on Wednesday, Winters was at the top of his class and had one more day of competition.