Calhoun students win Victoria College’s Welding Rodeo

Calhoun Team Calhoun High School students, from left, Gunner Moore, Ricky Dudley and Tristen Sanders pose with their belt buckles after winning Victoria College’s Welding Rodeo on Nov. 3. Not pictured is Jose Cumpean.

Calhoun High School welding instructor Leighton Smith figured his team had won first place at Victoria College’s 2016 Welding Rodeo.

“I thought we had it,” Smith said. “But it wasn’t our time.”

Calhoun’s time came a year later as Gunner Moore, Ricky Dudley, Tristen Sanders and Jose Cumpean took home the first-place belt buckles and oxy-fuel torch kits on Nov. 3.

Six high schools were represented in the seven-team competition that began at 9 a.m. and concluded at 2 p.m. Bloomington, which won the event last year, finished second. Victoria CTI teams finished third and fourth and were followed by Gonzales, Nixon-Smiley and Waelder.

“I had a good feeling about these boys, made them work hard to prove themselves to me, and they showed up in a big way,” Smith said.

The annual event gives welding students a chance to work as a team and be creative in their design. This year’s theme was “Unity.”

“Each year, the sculptures get better and better,” said VC Welding Associate Professor and Curriculum Coordinator Wade Vrana. “It’s amazing what these teams can do in just five hours. The sculpture that won first place this year even incorporated kinetic features to capture the theme.”

All participants received a Victoria College Welding Rodeo T-shirt.

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.