Throughout this week, downtown Kansas City, Mo.’s Bartle Hall has been brewing with excitement and energy as technical education students from all across the nation are here in KCMO to compete in the National Skills USA Competition. Nearly 6,000 students attended the event ranging in competitions from cabinetry, cosmetology, commercial baking, diesel engines, HVAC, criminal justice and forensics, photography and 3D animation, and much much more.
According to the Skills USA website, “The Vocational Industrial Clubs of America Inc. (VICA) was founded by students and teachers who were serious about their professions and saw the need for more training in the areas of leadership to complement their chosen vocation. In Nashville, Tennessee, 14 states were represented, as VICA chose its name, colors, motto, purposes and goals.”
Bartle Hall has hosted the National Skills USA Competition for the last 20 years, however, due to the increase of size, competitors, and new competitions, next year, 2014, will be its last. The committee plans to move the event to Louisville, Ken. Where allegedly has more hotel accommodations.
This writer had the opportunity to volunteer in two of the media booths yesterday and met people from at least 20 individual states and 1 pretty Puerto Rican girl with only a very few duplicates. It became a challenge to speak with visitors, competitors, advisors and parents and guess which part of our great nation they might have heralded from. One lady had a very soft drawl that it was not too hard to identify as Alabama; fast talkers and walkers obviously shot down in sky rockets from New York; and let’s not forget the subtle flair of the young men who proudly and loudly exclaimed “We’re from Texas!” Of course, ignoring the fact their Stetsons proclaimed that for them.
Readers in the KCMO and KCK area will be happy to note that not one word was said in criticism of our fair multiple-cities. Everyone this writer spoke with received compliments on the city and the vast amount of attractions. Some visitors even stated they had come after the Skills USA competitions in the past to vacation here, saying, “This is a beautiful city!”
It is interesting to note that more than $36 million of equipment for the competition was either donated or loaned for students to utilize during the event. Many national sponsors participated in the assistance for the competition.
Skills USA will finalize tonight, Friday, June 28, 2013 with a large closing ceremony at Kemper Arena where gold, silver and bronze medals are presented. Tickets are scarce but check the Skills USA website for information on national winners.
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