Duckworth represents Vale High School in national auto competition

Viking senior Josh Duckworth will travel to Kentucky in June to represent the Vale High School automotive team at the SkillsUSA contest.

VALE – Unlike some of us, students on the Vale High School automotive team know why the car won’t start.

Team members have exhibited that knowledge in getting cars up and running numerous times this year.

Standing over an open hood, alongside other teams from Oregon and other states, the Vale team has deciphered the problems, made repairs and had the engine roaring back to life well before their competitors.

And now one will show off his skills against those from around the country in the national SkillsUSA contest. In the competition, an entrant is assigned a car to diagnose. Each car in the competition has the same problem. The first competitor to figure out what’s wrong and fix it wins.

The entire Vale team recently returned from the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Contest held in Portland. The state competition added to a year of achievements for the team.

Senior Josh Duckworth is preparing for a trip to the national tournament after placing first in Portland in automotive service technology in competition last month.

The SkillsUSA contest qualifies students to attend the national competition. This will be Duckworth’s first trip to the national competition in automotive. He competed last year in motorcycle mechanics.

“I went last year to get a feel of what the competition is all about,” said Duckworth. “It is a two-day competition covering a number of problems. Some deal with electrical problems and others are finding the specifications to order a part.”

Duckworth heads to Kentucky June 25 for competition, well aware of the legacy of the Vale auto program.

“I want to keep this program going as great as it has been,” he said.

The interest in automobiles is not just a hobby for Duckworth. He plans a career in the field.

“I am attending College of Southern Idaho to study autos in the fall,” said Duckworth. “It is the career I want.”

On June 6, Duckworth and his teacher, Drew Barnes, will be in Portland for the Northwest Auto Trade Association’s show. While there, Duckworth will be seeking sponsorships to attend the national competition. Duckworth is also accepting local contributions to make the trip.

The showing adds to Duckworth’s titles this year as he also finished first in the Redmond regional skills contest earlier this year and teamed with Josh Anderson to take first at the Weber State University competition. The Weber State competition involved teams from four states.

Duckworth also had a second-place showing in diesel service technology at a competition at Idaho State University earlier in the year.

In addition to teaming with Duckworth earlier in the year, Anderson placed second at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills contest. Earlier in the year, Anderson placed sixth at BYU Idaho in Rexburg, competing against 51 competitors.

Joining Duckworth and Anderson on the podium in Portland was junior Beau Belnap in third. Belnap added a second in the diesel service technology division. He previously placed first in automotive service technology at the Idaho State University competition.

Completing the Portland competition was Dan Wenger, who finished fifth.

Wenger has a previous second-place showing at the BYU Rexburg competition. In Portland, Rylee Hill picked up sixth and Mason Recla was sixth in the power equipment competition.

“All these students have won multiple prizes including scholarships and tools this year,” said instructor Drew Barnes.

The wins have also benefitted the school.

“The school was awarded another late model GM vehicle to use for our training from the Weber State University competition,” Barnes said.

The wins from the current students continue a long history for the automotive program in Vale. The school currently holds 27 state championships along with seven national titles.  

Reporter John L. Braese: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.