Nixon-Smiley captures Victoria College 2021 Welding Rodeo title

Nixon-Smiley High School won first place in Victoria College’s Welding Rodeo on Nov. 4. Pictured from left are instructor Clarence Bahlmann and students Jay Mendez, Alfredo Valerio, Preston Rice and Kris Kitchens.

Nixon-Smiley High School took first place in Victoria College’s 2021 Welding Rodeo on Nov. 4 at VC’s William Wood Building.

Nixon-Smiley won over seven other teams competing in the event, which allows high school students to be creative with their welding skills. The teams were given five hours to create a sculpture with a “Geometric” theme.

“It was so much fun being able to do the Welding Rodeo,” said Nixon-Smiley team member Preston Rice. “The overall experience was great because everyone was so helpful. They supplied the metal, gave us a great workplace, and even fed us for lunch. I hope to be there again next year.”

Rice said teammate Alfredo Valerio came up with the idea for the project.

“He said we should do a diamond,” Rice said. “I loved being able to use the cutting torch, plasma cutter and welding machine. Our group had different jobs to do. We all had jobs for cutting, grinding and welding the triangles together. This event gave us more experience and helps us to be better welders in the future.”

Nixon-Smiley welding instructor Clarence Bahlmann said the Welding Rodeo is a highlight of his students’ year.

“The event, with the theme, time constraints and teamwork provides real-life work applications and offers students the opportunity to showcase their skills,” Bahlmann said. “My students had a great time and were excited to be rewarded for their work. It is obvious that Victoria College has a Welding Program that aims to help people get to the next level in their welding careers.”

Other members of Nixon-Smiley’s team were Kris Kitchens and Jay Mendez. Goliad’s Ashton Perry, Aden Barrientez, Wyatt Cain and Aramis Garza teamed for second place. The Yoakum team of Cayson Fishbeck, Cody Bennett, Kamren Meyer and Mac Eggemeyer finished third.

Welding supplies for all teams competing in the event were donated by Airgas.

Other high schools competing in the event were Bloomington, Victoria East, Yorktown, Hallettsville Sacred Heart and Calhoun.

Victoria College offers welding training, including a Welding Occupational Skills Award, a Basic Welding Certificate, an Advanced Welding Certificate and three levels of Workforce and Continuing Education training.

For more information visit or call (361) 573-3291.