PITTSBURG — Two local men brought home medals from the SkillsUSA National Competition in Louisville, Kentucky June 20 through 24.
Matt Volmer is now the national champion in carpentry for two years running. Volmer competed against 30 contestants at the state level in order to qualify for the national competition where he beat out 28 other carpentry contests from around the country.
Contestants have eight hours to frame four walls on a four-foot by eight-foot platform. The structure has to include a door and two windows. Contestants then must put a roof and siding on the structure.
“They judge you based on like six different categories,” Volmer said. “They see if you brought the right tools, did your work safely, the craftsmanship and quality, how well you used your time and how clean you were about throwing wood around.”
Volmer got the opportunity to go to the competition the past two years through the Career and Technical Education Center in Pittsburg and its partnership with Fort Scott Community College. He graduated from the carpentry program through FSCC and CTEC this spring.
Volmer said he would go again next year if he could, but students are only allowed to attend nationals for two years.
“It’s a once in a lifetime deal,” Volmer said.
Mack O’Dell also joined Volmer at the national competition and brought home the bronze medal in the masonry competition. O’Dell is 16 years old and has now competed at the national level for two years in masonry. Last year he received seventh place and said he was happy to return.
The masonry competition is similar to the carpentry competition.
“We had to build a small scale wall using a lot of the skills you see in everyday masonry,” O’Dell said.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.