Students Learn to Weld at National FFA Expo

INDIANAPOLIS – With the help of Lincoln Electric and Tulsa Welding School, FFA members at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo can weld their own metalwork projects and explore the art of welding.

There are three projects FFA members can weld: a horse, a cow and a pig. Tulsa Welding School offers the horse project at their booth, and the other two locations can be found elsewhere in the expo.

“We have one out in the food products and processing area, and then there’s another one hidden here in the show,” said Jason Scales, business manager for education at Lincoln Electric. “That way, students have to go out and find those and then actually bring back the welded projects to us.”

Students who weld all three projects can stop by the Lincoln Electric booth at the expo and receive a metal cutout of the United States with “FFA” cut out of the middle, made with a plasma cutter machine.

Joe McKinney, vice president of high school admissions at Tulsa Welding School, said this activity gives students some exposure to welding.

“We are using a mig machine; it’s just point and shoot,” McKinney said. “If students have never welded before, it gives them a feeling for what it’s like to be underneath the hood.”

Lilly Calkins from the Palmyra FFA Chapter in Nebraska welded a metal horse. It was her first experience welding.

“I saw all my friends welding, and I thought, ‘might as well try it and get the chance to do it,’” Calkins said.

Scales said Lincoln Electric is extremely involved in agriculture.

“All the tractors that are driven by farmers, all the implements and everything, it has to be welded,” Scales said. “We are actively involved in production agriculture.”

Dene Dryden is a sophomore at Kansas State University studying creative writing. An alumna of the Palco FFA Chapter in Kansas, she is serving as a reporter for the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo Newsroom Crew.