ISU Hosts the State’s Top Young Welders at the Rocky Mountain Shootout
April 27, 2023
The rhythmic crackle of welding torches echoed through the halls of Idaho State University's William M. and Karin A. Eames Advanced Technical Education and Innovation Complex on April 20 as the state's best young welders gathered for the highly-anticipated 2023 Rocky Mountain Shootout.
The event has become a cherished tradition in the Idaho welding community, drawing the very best high school agriculture and industrial trade students from around the state to compete at the ISU College of Technology.
From Bear Lake to Mackay and Boise, approximately 120 students participated in this year's event, showcasing their welding skills and competing for prestigious awards, bragging rights and over $10,000 worth of prizes, scholarships and welding equipment donated by generous industry sponsors like Industrial Metals, Peterson Inc., Norco and Loenbro.
"The future generations of fabricators and business owners are these kids and we want to give them the best chance going forward," said Brad Larson, an outside sales representative from Pacific Steel Company. "So, the least we can do is donate the material they require."
This year, the competitors in the Trade and Industrial Division were asked to do three welding tasks using different welding techniques. They were asked to do a vertical and horizontal weld using a welding process called "stick welding," and a vertical weld using a welding process called "MIG welding." They were also asked to weld a pipe to a plate in a certain position using a welding process called "TIG welding." The Agricultural Division competitors were asked to do three different welding tasks, including welding a pipe to a plate and welding an angle iron to a plate, using a process called "stick welding." In addition to the welding tasks, all students participated in a written test about welding theory, math and blueprint reading.
"These students are in a foreign welding lab with machines, booths, weld tables, chairs, stingers and other equipment that are all different from what they are used to in their home lab,” said Kutler Bunnell, a clinical instructor for the ISU College of Technology’s welding program. “You add the buzz of a competition and things can start to feel pretty stressful. I saw many competitors overcome these obstacles and put down some great welds! This competition is a great experience for these students because it’s somewhat of a real-world welding simulator. In order to get a welding job, you have to enter a company's shop and perform welds with their equipment to their standards."
In addition to the competition, the event also serves as a valuable learning opportunity, with ISU College of Technology faculty providing demonstrations and tours to the competitors and continuing education to secondary teachers.
"The Rocky Mountain Shootout brings out the best in each of the competitors," said Dave Treasure, chair of the ISU College of Technology Trade and Industrial Department. "Our faculty go to great lengths to conduct this event that showcases our facility, our Welding program and provides an opportunity for secondary educators and their students to experience ISU."
After the competition, the attendees were treated to an awards banquet where the winners of the night were announced:
1st - Cooper Woolstenhulme, Bear Lake High School, Montpelier, ID
2nd - Guss Johnson, Marsh Valley High School, Arimo, ID
3rd - Dallin Baker, Meridian High School, Meridian, ID
4th - Carter McPherson, Bear Lake High School, Montpelier, ID
5th - Dylan Pugmire, Bear Lake High School, Montpelier, ID
Trade & Industrial Division:
1st - Casey Van Patten, Idaho Center for Advanced Technology, Nampa, ID
2nd - Connor Leavitt, Idaho Center for Advanced Technology, Nampa, ID
3rd - Cooper Warren, Idaho Center for Advanced Technology, Nampa, ID
4th - Levi Raplee, Idaho Center for Advanced Technology, Nampa, ID
5th - Justin Schafer, Idaho Center for Advanced Technology, Nampa, ID
1st - Dallin Baker, Meridian High School, Meridian, ID
2nd - Stone Stills, Caldwell Senior High School, Caldwell, ID
3rd - Ryan Stills, Caldwell Senior High School, Caldwell, ID
GTAW (TIG) Test:
1st - Cooper Warren, Idaho Center for Advanced Technology, Nampa, ID
2nd - Levi Raplee, Idaho Center for Advanced Technology, Nampa, ID
3rd - Josiah Hanson, Dennis Technical Education Center, Boise, ID
1st - Ruben Price, Dalton Declark and Cooper Woolstenhulme, Bear Lake High School, Montpelier, ID
2nd - Dillion Pugmire, Carter McPherson and Wyatt Stelle, Bear Lake High School, Montpelier, ID
3rd - Anthony Perron, Riley Perron and Seth Harden, Gooding High School, Gooding, ID
The skills and connections forged at events like the Rocky Mountain Shootout are invaluable for young welders and have a lasting impact on their careers, as well as on the strength and innovation of the welding industry as a whole.
A special thanks to the sponsors of this year’s events: Pacific Steel, Industrial Metal Enterprises LLC, Aztec Welding Services, Norco, Airgas, Petersen Inc., Premier Technology, Loenbro, Williams Companies, Lincoln Electric, L & L Mechanical, Pro Pipe Fabrication, Industrial Piping LLC, Idaho Central Credit Union, Retana Accounting, Great Basin Industrial, Remax Mai Team, Partner Steel, Glanbia and Coca-Cola USA.