Student and professional welders will turn junk metal into Salish Sea-themed sculptures at Bellingham Technical College’s Welding Rodeo on Saturday.
The event at the Morse Center on campus, 3028 Lindbergh Ave., is free and open to the public. It begins at 8 a.m.
Held every year, the rodeo aims to let students use the welding skills they’ve learned to turn scrap metal into works of art.
In years past, the two-day event has involved as many as 12 teams of amateur and professional welders racing against the clock to complete sculptures around a common theme. They were then judged and sold in silent or open auctions.
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But this year, the event’s 16th, will be different, said Marni Mayer, a BTC spokeswoman. About 90 welding students will begin working on their sculptures on Tuesday, either individually or in pairs, leading up to the main event on campus Saturday.
The Salish Sea theme is open to interpretation by the sculptors, Mayer said.
“It should be kind of cool because it’s be super artistic and they’ll get to have a longer span of time to develop a piece,” she added.
There will be a competition Saturday, but only between four professional teams, Mayer said. As in previous years, the teams will gather on Saturday morning, and, at the sound of a horn, race to the college’s scrapyard, grab their materials, and begin building.
Central Welding Supply donates most of scrap metal, Mayer said.
While the teams are working, attendees can try their hands at welding in a demonstration booth for free. Day-of registration is required. Smaller sculptures also will be on sale throughout the day, Mayer said.
The teams will finish by 4 p.m. and at 4:45, student and competition sculptures will go up for sale in an open auction. Proceeds go to scholarships for BTC welding students, Mayer said. Sculptures will not be judged and voted on as at previous events, she said.