HAZARD – Southeastern Kentucky’s first-ever Welding Rodeo will be held on Friday, October 23 at the Amphitheater in downtown Hazard. Three teams of welders from across the region will have just eight hours and a pile of scrap metal to create a work of art, and you are invited to come and watch.
The competing teams each will fabricate a sculpture addressing the Welding Rodeo’s theme, “River Creatures.” The winning sculpture will earn its four-person team a cash prize as well as a place of honor and prominent display on Hazard’s new River Arts Greenway. There also will be a People’s Choice award.
Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC) and Pathfinders of Perry County are the organizers of the Welding Rodeo. The competition will begin with the sound of an airhorn at 8 am and will conclude with a final airhorn blast at 4:30 pm. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at the Amphitheater at 5:30 pm. The community can vote for the People’s Choice award through Friday night at the Haunted Harvest, a downtown celebration.
Participating teams include students from the welding programs at HCTC in Hazard and Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg. There also will be a community-based team from Hazard featuring local artists. Organizers hope to make this a yearly event and to expand the number of teams in coming years.
Visitors who attend the free event will be able to:
• Observe the welding teams as they design and create metal sculptures that represent both real and imaginary river creatures;
• Vote for their favorite team sculpture to receive a People’s Choice Award;
• Enjoy lunch and/or snacks provided by a local food vendor (beginning around 11 am); and
• Explore career options and technical programs available through HCTC.
The River Arts Greenway is a new walking/biking path and public art space in the heart of Hazard’s historic downtown. The Greenway uses the arts as a catalyst for ongoing downtown revitalization, entrepreneurship, environmental awareness, and community wellness. The Welding Rodeo is funded through a grant for the River Arts Greenway awarded to Pathfinders of Perry County by ArtPlace America.
“We’re really excited about our first-ever Welding Rodeo,” said Jenny Williams, president of Pathfinders. “It’s going to be exciting, fun, and hopefully demonstrate how welding skills can be applied in a fine arts competition to create sculpture that everyone can enjoy on our new downtown River Arts Greenway for years to come!”
Williams also said the event also hopes to attract students and teachers from K-12 schools across the region. Viewing opportunities for K-12 groups begin at 9 am on Friday, October 23. To register, K-12 teachers and administrators may contact Tammy Duff at HCTC at 505-487-3067 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.