Sunday, May 20, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on November 15th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 36

Cuesta College welders sweep new regional contest


A team of Cuesta College students recently won an Arizona regional competition for building one bear of a barbecue. The team’s ’cue featured steel cutouts of a bear and the words “Cuesta Welding,” as well as a chrome smoke stack.

A team comprised of four Cuesta College students won first place at the first-ever Welding Fabrication Team Invitational last month in Yuma, Ariz. Pictured from left to right are Simon Rowe, Steven Cox, Cuesta College welding instructor Mike Fontes, John Fiscalini, and Kyle Peterson with their completed barbecue.

John Fiscalini of Cambria, Simon Rowe and Kyle Peterson of San Luis Obispo, and Steven Cox of Santa Maria were named grand champions of the 2012 Welding Fabrication Team Invitational held Oct. 19 and 20 at Arizona Western College Institute Of Welding Technology in Yuma, Ariz. Teams were expected to create a home barbecue and then cook a meal with it.

Coached by Cuesta welding instructors Mike Fontes and Rob Thoresen, the sizzling quartet also won first place in welding fabrication and took third in a culinary arts competition that tested their ability to barbecue using their eight-sided ebony cooker.

The first-ever competition attracted 10 high school and community college teams from California and Arizona.

The students had just eight hours to construct and assemble a barbecue out of steel from a plan. The Cuesta team was one of the few groups to complete its project.

In a prepared statement, Fontes said the judges, all seasoned welding professionals, were impressed by the young welders’ skill and poise under pressure.

“They had never seen teamwork on that level,” he said. “The welding was flawless. It was unbelievable.”

Cuesta’s Peterson even built a special, complex tool that allowed his teammates to precisely bend steel; other teams had to cut and weld the steel plates to form the octagonally shaped barbecue called for in the plans.

“This proves that the quality of the programs offered here at Cuesta College are some of the best in the United States,” said John Stokes, Cuesta’s engineering and technology division chair. “We can compete against any other college, and not only be competitive, but excel. The students coming out of our programs are qualified not only to immediately get jobs, but jobs with high wages and great job satisfaction.”

Fontes pointed out that several Cuesta students received job offers during the contest. The team also took home prizes, including protective welding gear, from sponsors such as Lincoln Electric, Miller Electric Mfg. Co., and the American Welding Society.

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