Apprentices showed off their drafting, welding, architectural skills and more during the annual apprentice contest in Las Vegas during Sheet Metal Industry Week.

LAS VEGAS - This city's incessant clanging of slot machines was replaced by the sound of hammers and welding equipment for Industry Week attendees who ventured over to the Sheet Metal Workers union Local 88 training center.

The facility was the location for this year's annual apprentice contest, the 32nd such event the union has organized.

The top 36 second-, third- and fourth-year apprentices out of 12,000 enrolled in the union's training program came to compete. During the four-day event, they were tested on drafting, shop fabrication, welding, and comprehension of mechanical, architectural and electrical drawings.

In the second-year category, the winners were:

First place: Jason W. Fulton of Belmont, Mich. A member of Sheet Metal Workers union Local 7, Fulton is employed by Certified Sheet Metal. Fulton was given a $1,600 check from sponsor the International Training Institute, a Lincoln Electric Co. SP-135 Plus wire feeder/MIG/flex-cored welder and a $5,000 mutual fund from financial services company Invesco.

Second place: Brian E. Dahlman of New Lenox, Ill. A Local 265 member, Dahlman works for Dahlman Sheet Metal. He was awarded $1,000.

Third place: Christopher R. Whatley of Senoia, Ga. Whatley works for Perimeter Sheet Metal, is a member of Local 85 and was given $700.

In the third-year category:

First place: Jason E. Ferguson of Edwardsville, Kan. He is employed by J&L Sheet Metal. A member of Local 2, Ferguson was given $2,000 from the training institute, a SP-135 and a $5,000 Invesco mutual fund.

Second place: Gene C. Staton of Genoa City, Wis. The Local 265 member was given a $1,500 check. Staton works for Metal Master.

Third place: New Westminster, British Columbia, resident Kevin Taylor was awarded $750 U.S. dollars. He works for Fraser Valley Refrigeration and is a member of Local 280.

In the fourth-year category:

First place: Matthew T. Whitlock of Sterling, Ill. A Norstar Mechanical Industry worker, Whitlock was given $2,500 from the training institute, a SP-135 and a $5,000 mutual fund from Invesco. He is a member of Local 219.

Second place: William R. Wilkins of Bath, N.Y., was given $2,000. Wilkins works for Southern Tier Custom Fabricators and is represented by Local 112.

Third place: Marcus J. Sam of Tempe, Ariz. Sam works for Metro Mechanical and is a member of Sheet Metal Workers union Local 359. He was awarded $1,500.

Computer-aided drafting and welding competitions were also held. Jason Ferguson, who also took first place in the third-year apprentice contest, won the CAD contest. He received $500.

William Wilkins, who took second place in the fourth-year apprentice contest, won the welding contest. He was given a Millermatic 135 MIG welder from Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. His union local's training center, Local 112 in Elmira, N.Y., received a Millermatic 251.