Like metal fossils being pieced together, prehistoric creations took shape as five area high schools competed in the fourth annual Junkyard Challenge at Moraine Park Technical College’s Beaver Dam campus.
With workstations piled with scrap-metal objects of all shapes, functions and sizes, the teams used Moraine Park’s welding lab to turn odds and ends into skeletal dinosaur bodies, claws, teeth and eyes, recycling mundane items that had outlived their usefulness into unique works of art.
The Slinger High School team took first place with their prehistoric version of a frilled lizard. Team members were sophomore Logan Boschae, junior Dan Steingraber and seniors Harley Corren, Andy Lee and Alex Leonhardt. Accompanying them was Slinger High technology and engineering instructor Tom Kiser. The school has had a team at the welding event every year since its inception. The first two years the students “just tried whatever,” said Kiser. “The last two years we have done some research. They really decided ahead what they wanted to do.” The students knew they would be dealing with a skeletal structure, and their imaginations took off from there.
Receiving an honorable mention was the Princeton High School first-time team of seniors Mike Goetz and Jon Hawkins, who made a tall and elaborately detailed dinosaur. Technology education instructor Scott Simacek said that while Princeton doesn’t offer a welding class, both students were familiar with welding. “I think it’s wonderful kids are seeing other kids and getting other ideas,” said Simacek.
“It was a fun experience,” said Goetz. “We learned cast-iron stuff doesn’t weld too well.” He and Hawkins plan to start a sculpture garden outside the school.
Beaver Dam High School had two teams formed from one metals manufacturing class. The Junkyard Challenge offers “another level of metals because they have to think outside the box and really be creative,” said instructor Mark Boehmer. “The competition level allows them to see how they compare to other high schools.” Creating an elaborate
T-rex style sculpture were juniors Kyle Schade and Noah Schepp and seniors Nathan Heck, Brian Larson and Kyle Livingston. The second team consisted of seniors Bob Pagenkopf, Brandon Paitrick, Alex Shute and Cody Weber who created a Flintstones scene as well as several prehistoric “stick” people aiming spears at a large dinosaur.
A team from West Bend West High School participated for the first time. “We came up to have fun,” said Kim Benson, advanced manufacturing instructor. “The students wanted to get a chance to see the welding facility and this was a good opportunity.” Seniors Jon Beardsley, Heath Jakubowski, Matt Moser and James Steinmetz crafted a dinosaur being led on a chain by a prehistoric human.
“I had a lot of fun doing it,” said Steinmetz. “I’m glad I came.” He enjoyed using Moraine Park’s welding lab and equipment.
The Fond du Lac High School team made not only one unique dinosaur walking on all fours, but also a smaller flying creature. The team included sophomores Jesse Lallier and Zach Yadaites, junior Alan Luckow and seniors Sam Kaiser and Tony Snyder, accompanied by instructor Tony Pickart.
Judges were Kathy Barnett, coordinator for the Seippel Homestead and Center for the Arts, and Jerry Kamps, a representative of the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association and a retired Beaver Dam High School art teacher. The teams were judged on creative use of materials, texture, movement and the variety of items used.
Alex Leonhardt, a member of the winning Slinger team, said the team did a lot of research for their prehistoric frilled lizard. “Coming prepared really helps,” he said. “You can hop on the project right away.”
“I thought it was pretty cool,” said fellow team member Logan Boschae of the Junkyard Challenge. “I’d like to do this again next year.”
“What I love to see is the teamwork and the leadership,” said Charles Reynolds, welding advisory committee member and welding technology manager with Alliance Laundry Systems in Ripon. “That is the kind of thing you need in production.”
In addition to the team event, there also was an individual welding competition in which participants brought in for judging items they had already made. The winners and their high schools were as follows:
Gas Metal Arc Welding
1st: Noah Schepp, Beaver Dam HS
2nd: Gavin Gantner, Fond du Lac HS
3rd: Sam Kaiser, Fond du Lac HS
Shielded Metal Arc Welding
1st: Jessie Lallier, Fond du Lac HS
2nd: Ryan Rochwite, Fond du Lac HS
3rd: Korey Liebersbach, Fond du Lac HS
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
1st: Brian Larson, Beaver Dam HS
2nd: Kyle Livingston, Beaver Dam HS
3rd: Bob Hopp, Fond du Lac HS
1st: Cody Weber, Beaver Dam, HS
2nd: Kyle Schade, Beaver Dam HS
3rd: Tony Snyder, Fond du Lac, HS
For more information about Moraine Park’s Welding program, visit www.morainepark.edu or call an outreach specialist at 1-800-472-4554. For more information about the Junkyard Challenge, call Sue Silverstein, Moraine Park welding/fabrication instructor, at 920-887-4490.