There's still a note of awe in Jason Bockey's voice when he remembers how he won a Bobcat 250 welder/generator in last year's Welding University drawing sponsored by Miller Electric Manufacturing Company and Farm Journal.
"I was just flipping through the magazine and thought it would be nice to win a helmet,” says Bockey, who farms with his father near Delphos, Ohio. "I never expected to win the big prize. The Bobcat welds smoother than anything we had on the farm.”
You could be one of the winners this year. All you have to do is complete the survey following this story or fill it out online at www.FarmJournal.com. Look for the Welding University button. The survey must be postmarked or submitted online by Jan. 31, 2009.
This year's grand-prize winners will receive their choice of a Bobcat 250 welder/generator or a combination of a Millermatic 212 MIG welder and a Spectrum 625 plasma cutter. They will also get a Miller auto-darkening helmet and Arc Armor protective apparel.
But that's not all. The grand-prize winners will travel, all expenses paid, to Appleton, Wis., for a three-day visit to Miller headquarters. Hands-on training will be provided by some of the country's experts in MIG welding, plasma cutting and portable generator operation. The training will be held in Miller's state-of-the-art training center, March 16 to 18, 2009.
Stellar training. "The trip alone was worth entering the contest,” Bockey says. "There was a lot of welding practice and demonstrations. I learned a lot.”
Bockey is building a trailer to transport his welder/generator. That will make it much easier to repair metal gates, a task that arises every winter, he says. He'll also use the generator to power a fuel tank on the trailer.
Grand-prize winners of this year's drawing will be accompanied on the trip to Miller headquarters by Al Pell, host of the "AgDay” television show.
Besides the grand-prize winners, three first-prize winners in this year's drawing will receive an auto-darkening welding helmet. Ten second-prize winners will receive welding gloves.
Ideal for farm operations, Miller's Pro-Hobby series of auto-darkening helmets weigh only 16 oz. Features include adjustable-shade lens, 1⁄12,000-second lens speed, replaceable batteries, two arc sensors and delay control.
"Being able to adjust the brightness of the helmets is really handy,” explains Greg Risenmay of Idaho Falls, Idaho, another of last year's grand-prize winners. "Different people prefer different settings.”
How you can win. This year's winners will be drawn randomly from those submitting a fully completed survey. "I'd tell anybody to fill out the survey and take their chance,” Risenmay says. "This was quite an opportunity.”
For his prize, Risenmay chose the Millermatic 212 MIG welder and the Spectrum 625 plasma cutter. "The demonstrations of aluminum welding that we saw at Miller's training facility inspired me to buy a spool gun for the Millermatic, so we could weld aluminum and thin metal—jobs we previously had to hire someone else to do,” he says. Such jobs occur frequently with irrigation equipment and aluminum trailers on his farm, he adds.
Risenmay used his plasma cutter to fabricate a framework to mount an extra tank on his sprayer. "Plasma is much cleaner and faster than an oxy-acetylene torch,” he says.
Last year's third grand-prize winner was Frank Kovacevich of Ottawa, Ill. Like Bockey, he chose the Bobcat 250 welder/generator.
Grand-prize winners must be U.S. farmers who are more than 18 years old. They must participate in the training to receive the products. Previous grand-prize winners are not eligible. Entries are limited to one per household. To learn more about the Miller prizes, visit www.millerwelds.com.
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You can e-mail Darrell Smith at email@example.com