The tension was evident last week at the 2013 SkillsUSA Mississippi State Championships. Held Feb. 26-27 at the Mississippi Trade Mart in Jackson, the event crowns the state’s best construction craft students in the state, students who will go on to the national championship.
For the first time this year, the competition was open to high school and community college students as well as apprentices. Judging was provided by industry veterans.
The 294 competitors, their educators and judges filled the main exhibition hall of the massive Trade Mart. Sparks and sawdust flew, saws whined and there was no laughter or small talk among the participants and their judges.
“This is serious business,” said Mike Barkett, president of the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, while standing on the TRADE MART floor Feb. 27.
Competitors vied for the top spot in carpentry; cabinet making; electrical-residential; electrical-commercial; HVAC; masonry; plumbing; sheet metal; welding fabrication; welding-structural; and, TeamBuild.
The MCEF and MDE have separate winners who will go on to the national competition. The MDE winners will compete for the national title June 17-21 in Kansas City, Mo. The other winners will go on to the Associated Builders and Contractors Crafty Championship slated for April 30-May 4 in Birmingham, Ala.
At press time, the MDE had not named its state winners.
Those going on to the ABC National Craft Championship are:
» Commercial Plumbing — Uhon Appleton, MCC
» Electrical-residential/commercial — Kenneth Bell, ADCO
» Electrical-commercial/industrial — David Aycock, Duprey Electric