Inexperience hampers OFHS student at national contest

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Blazer places 19th in motorcycle service contest
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Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Oconto Falls School Board President Ron Leja, center, and tech ed teacher David Heisel read the certificate to be presented to Oconto Falls High School student Jeffery Blazer. Blazer won first place in the state SkillsUSA motorcycle service technology contest this spring and competed at the national contest in June.

A solid understanding of small engine mechanics carried Jeffery Blazer to the top spot in the state SkillsUSA motorcycle service technology contest this spring.

A lack of expertise specific to motorcycles prevented him from replicating that success at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference last month. The Oconto Falls High School senior placed 19th out of 29 competitors at nationals, held from June 22-23 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Blazer said he can’t wait to try again next year, after he enrolls in the yearlong motorcycle fundamentals class at OFHS and learns more of the skills he was asked to perform in the contest.

“I had never done 90 percent of the stuff they had me do,” he admitted.

He said lacing a wheel was the hardest part of the contest. He also replaced wheel bearings and removed and replaced a wheel in the skills portion of the contest, participated in an interview and took a written test.

Blazer gained his knowledge of small engines at Northwoods Power Equipment in Stiles, where he has worked for the past year. Plus, he has taken the small engines class and other tech ed classes at OFHS.

“I like the knowledge base that he has,” said tech ed instructor Matt Beschta, who’s looking forward to seeing Blazer compete in next year’s SkillsUSA contest.