By Taylor Six
G.T. Embry, at right, and his teammates Korey Cochran and Kimball Foley recently placed tenth in a national welding competition.
Last week, G.T. Embry of Irvine, along with his teammates Korey Cochran and Kimball Foley placed tenth in the SkillUSA National Welding and Fabrication competition in Louisville.
The team practiced for months after school let out after winning in both the regional and state welding competitions to prepare for nationals.
Embry, Cochran and Foley say they were anxious and nervous for nationals but had practiced feverishly at building a welding table out of metal pieces in only six and-a-half hours, which was to be their competition task.
Fifty other teams competed at nationals, but once the team flipped down their helmets, the nerves melted away.
Cochran said that the first problem to present itself was the tight and cramped conditions of the welding booths. The team had never worked this close together before and were nearly running over each other to get the job done.
Embry said that the cramped space made the atmosphere “chaotic” because the boys were working on top of each other, they had not practiced in these conditions.
After a matter of space, or lack thereof, the team’s equipment began to give them more problems. The team’s welding equipment was plugged into a faulty outlet, which gave them electrical issues throughout the whole competition.
Embry explained that the outlet kept flipping the breaker, so the boys would have to stop and wait for it to be reset to get up and going again. The team would also burn through contact tips and have to run to the judges for a replacement.
Tim Pinson, welding instructor for the Madison County Area Technical Center was there to support the boys. Pinson claimed that the breaker went out “at least seven times during the competition.”
Unfortunately, due to the time lost with the electrical problems, the boys were forced to end the competition with an unfinished table.
Even despite the odds and electrical malfunctions, the team finished tenth in the national competition, saying all their practice was worth it and they would do it all again.
“Mr. Pinson is who made it all possible,” Embry said. “He really deserves all the credit and thanks, we wouldn’t have been there without him.”
Now that the grueling practicing is finished, Embry plans to begin work at Hyster-Yale Corporation, a material equipment handling supplier in Berea within a few weeks.