Student welders continue to create bike racks for community
By Kyle Vuille
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
If you live in Glendive, chances are you’ve seen the dinosaur bike rack at Whipkey Park, the tennis racquet bike rack at Jaycee West Park or the locomotive bike rack along Merrill Ave.
The three bike racks are products of Dawson Community College’s welding program and welding instructor Chris Ingram and his students.
This semester, the welding students are making a paddlefish bike rack and one resembling the Bell Street Bridge.
According to Ingram, city officials approached him about three years ago about building bike racks for places around town.
For Ingram’s students, the projects offer a learning experience. They are comprised of everything they have learned during their first year and the first half of their second semester.
Ingram said the first year of the program consists of the basics of welding and the second year gets more into the tools and aluminum.
“This is an accumulation of everything they’ve learned so far,” Ingram said. “They take everything they’ve learned and use it in a real world application.”
Ingram said his students take the design given and make layouts, blueprints and price materials before they actually start work on the bike racks.
Matthew Leippi, a sophomore in the welding program, said he has enjoyed working on the bike rack project.
“It’s fun because you have to design it all,” Leippi said. “We did the blueprints and layouts ourselves.”
Leippi said he decided to attend the welding program at DCC because he found the program useful on the family farm where he plans to return to work with his dad once he completes his education.
Webb O’Neill, another sophomore in the program from Charlo, Mont., has also found working on the bike racks a positive expereince.
“It’s fun, I like it,” O’Neill said. “There’s three of us so we have our different opinions on things.”
Both students as well as another sophomore in the program, Dominic Anderson, said they have learned a lot of bending techniques during the process of the project.
“I’ve learned more about bending around pipe and cutting angles to match up,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of touch up work too.”
Anderson added that after completing the program, he will likely move to Alaska to work on ship manufacturing as a welder.
All three students said they had previous experience welding, but learning the different bending techniques making the paddlefish rack has been beneficial for them.
Ingram wanted to give thanks to the Glendive Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture for the paddlefish grant for the program, noting it has funded the majority of the bike rack projects.
Ingram added he wanted to do another dinosaur for Makoshika. With the semester coming to an end, he and his students were short on time and manpower so he plans to do that one in the spring.
Ingram said the bike rack projects are a good thing for the students to look back on once they complete the program.
“It’s great for the community and great for the students,” Ingram said. “It’s something they can look on or see when they are driving on their way to work.”
Reach Kyle Vuille at