The 83rd annual Nueces County Junior Livestock Show got underway Friday at the Richard Borchard Fairgrounds in Robstown.

Some 160 high school students were putting their welding skills to the test Friday. They were given a list of instructions to follow as part of the annual welding contest.

Beeville freshman Julian Martinez was hard at work. He said it's a skill he wants to eventually make a career.

"Well I plan on going to college for welding and after that, I don't know," Martinez said. "I may go pipeline, inspector, I don't know yet."

The top welders have to not only follow the instructions but they have to be consistent on their welds and make sure their sizing is correct. Then their work will be x-rayed to see if their creation will hold up to industry standards.

"Some of them are going to work for John Deere, some of them are going to work for the refineries, some are going to work for the pipeline, and so they're learning their basics right here," Welding Inspector Director Matt Richard said. "Their training ground from there. Just kind of like a doctor, if you learn your basics then you can specialize and spread out from there."

"My brother, he was a welder. He took the same classes with the same teacher, and he passed away in 2014, so I'm just going to carry on his welding career," said Julian Jimenez, a junior at Skidmore-Tynan High School.

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