Area high school teams compete at Junkyard Challenge

by admin8. June 2009 19:00

Form and function were joined during Moraine Park Technical College’s annual Junkyard Challenge, which pits teams of high school students against each other in a race to weld a sculpture from scratch using metal odds and ends.


The Columbus High School team is shown with their winning creation, a go-cart.

Supervised by Moraine Park metal fabrication instructor Larry Clark and welding instructors Jeff Beach and Jeremiah Johnson, teams from Beaver Dam, Columbus, Dodgeland and Slinger high schools were challenged to come up with functional machines – something with style, but also with movement. The projects were judged by representatives from Breuer Metal Craftsmen and Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation.


First place went to the Columbus High School team of Ethan Diehlmann, Phil Denikas, Dain Quamme and Scott Tiedt, all of Columbus. Their go-cart was a skeletal structure welded from several metal pieces, including an old bicycle tire rim for a back wheel and two piston rods for the handlebars. Not only interesting to look at, it could actually be ridden.


“This is our first year competing,” said Columbus instructor Jason Faust. “It’s a fantastic event. We hope we’re able to have a team come again next year. It’s really a great hands-on experience for the students.”


Columbus student Ethan Diehlmann agreed it was a neat experience, adding, “Our team found that it’s important to come prepared with an idea, and we’ll need to work faster in the future.”


Each team member received Moraine Park hooded, insulated jackets.


Beaver Dam High School came in second with their grasshopper oil pump design, similar to those seen in oil-producing states like Texas. The team consisted of Mitch Guenther, Chris Larson, Jake Reuter, Tavis Stafford and Blake Strahota, all of Beaver Dam.


“It’s an excellent teambuilding exercise that involves a lot of different people coming together to complete a project,” said Beaver Dam instructor Mark Boehmer. “Even if they don’t win, they are learning things from this that they don’t typically learn in a classroom. It’s not an individual project – it’s like being part of a sports team.”


“This event is a lot of fun,” said Strahota. “It teaches us teamwork and creativity.”


A trebuchet (medieval catapult) made by the Slinger High School team of Jestin Boden, Logan Boschae, Steve Coloso, Tyler Pulliam and Mike Ziegelbauer took third place. They were accompanied by instructor Tom Kiser. All are from Slinger except Coloso, who is from Jackson.


The Dodgeland High School team’s wind-powered sewing machine came in fourth. It was constructed by Josh Berndt, Brandon Justmann, Marcus Richards and Jake Tillema, all of Juneau. Instructor Greg Kuhn supervised the team.


Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus hosted its first Junkyard Challenge. Fond du Lac High School students Kelsey Gilmore, Jesse Lallier, Mike Ryan and Chris Roth split into two teams, with Roth and Lallier’s tow-truck creation taking first place over Gilmore and Ryan’s lawnmower.


For more information about Moraine Park’s Welding program, visit or call an outreach specialist at        1-800-472-4554.