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Nueces County Junior Livestock Show continues, welding competition held today

While the competition focuses on welding, life skills such as time management and discipline are also taught to contestants, to prepare them for the real world.

ROBSTOWN, Texas — Many students came together to show off their skills in hopes to impress the judges at the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show. 

The stock show is a tradition Coastal Bend residents know and love. The competition is located at the Richard M Borchard Fairgrounds, and students have worked all year on their welding skills. 

Friday they had the chance to put those skills on display. 

Ellery Francisco a judge for the competition, said the idea for the competition started with the students best interest in mind. 

"About 18 years ago, 19 now because of COVID, Mike Millner and Russell Smith got together and mike was an AC Jones teacher at welding at ac jones in Beeville," Francisco said. "He came up with this idea to get these students trained as welders instead of just doing projects and stuff." 

Students such as Carlos Banda have been prepping their skills throughout the year to get ready for the show.

"I've been doing a lot of different stuff that I really had no idea about and what it consists of," Banda said. "I heard a lot about it and I have a couple of friends and family members that have been in this field, and have told me a little about it, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into." 

President of the Craft Training Center, Wayne Kelly said that the students work is thoroughly examined and that skill becomes apparent when it's time to judge. 

"With welding your welds are x-rayed," Kelly said. "You can't get more scrutiny then to show you can do what you can do whether it's destructive testing or non destructive testing, they have to prove themselves." 

Banda entered his work as a first year contestant, but admits that he is more excited than nervous to show off his skills and dedication to his craft. 

"I'm honestly just hoping to keep my composure," Banda said "And just be able to execute everything I've been practicing over the past couple of months and just be able to do my best and please the judges."

While the competition focuses on welding, life skills such as time management and discipline are also being taught to contestants, preparing them for the whatever may lie ahead. 

"Part of what we're trying to teach them is not just how to do something but the work ethic that goes along," Kelly said. 

Welding can prove to be a daunting and even dangerous task to tackle. The competition not only lets contestants show the fruit of their labor, but also prepares them to take that next step in their soon to be career. 

"It just gets them ready for the real world," Francisco said. "All these kids are trained for safety and to go into the plants and work in the local area." 

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