This past Saturday, the family unit and I attended what may be the coolest event in a town that has a thing for cool events.
The Welding Rodeo, held at Bellingham Technical College, is, if anything, a celebration of creativity. For I would wager that most people, when they think of art, don’t think of suede-clad teams of individuals wearing masks and wielding sledge hammers and welders. The Welding Rodeo shatters the cliché of the beret-wearing, palette-holding intellectual, dabbing oil paint delicately at a canvas with sable brushes.
Think of it this way: In high school, you’d usually have no problem distinguishing between the kids in metal shop and the kids in life drawing, the former destined for an auto repair shop, the latter for an art gallery. No such segregation at the Welding Rodeo.
The event’s format is simple. Teams of four have eight hours to fabricate a metal sculpture using only the scrap metal available to them at the 8am scrap dive:
The teams retreat to their booths with their materials and go to work, sparks and hammers a-flyin’.
Slowly but surely, the sculptures start to take shape, all of them, in some way, representing the theme chosen ahead of time. This year’s theme: Human Form.
One of the teams has traveled to the Welding Rodeo five years in a row…
A bonus for the day: anyone who wanted to try welding could sign a waiver and get a taste for the metal-on-metal action. Here’s my son Julian going for it:
These few photos really can’t do the event justice, so you either need to come to the rodeo next year or check out the extensive photo galleries they already have posted.