By Brandon Dumsky

The best automotive collision repair student in the state is from Levasy, and recently he competed in a national competition in Kansas City.

Jacob Gibson, 17, of Fort Osage School District’s Career and Technology Center, participated in the SkillsUSA Championships earlier this month at Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City, where more than 6,000 high school and college students from all 50 states, including a couple U.S. terrorities, compete in various vocational contests that are run and judged using industry standards.

Gibson was awarded a Skill Point Certificate for achieving a high score in Collision Repair Technology and placed 11th overall among the 50-plus contestants in the nation. At the SkillsUSA Championship, he said he had only 90 minutes to repair three dents on a fender of a 2004 Toyota Camry using different methods for each dent.

“One I used a metal finish,” he said. “Another was getting as close to the original with body filler and heatshrink on the third, when metal is stretched to a point and returned to its original density.”

Gibson added that he was judged on his safety procedure, the actual procedure used to repair the dented fender and the overall finished product. Besides the auto body repair contest, he took part in welding, frame analysis and plastic competitions at the Championship.

“Jacob does not get shaken by a challenge,” wrote his CTC instructor, Jeff Etherton. “I would have to say he is consistent and puts forth the effort to learn.”

The CTC student said his automotive interest stems from a family tradition.

“My dad was into it (auto body repair),” he said. “He has a big, old garage - a local shop - here in town. Plus both my brothers are into automobiles, too.”

Another reason Gibson pursued restoring vehicles is he simply “likes having it done right.”

He said how he got to participate at the SkillsUSA Championship by being “the best in the Missouri.”

“I went from districts to state to nationals, which is SkillsUSA,” he explained. Earlier this year, Gibson placed first at a state competition in Linn, Missouri - just outside of Jefferson City. He also said he had just 20 minutes to complete a welding contest without a plug weld. Earlier this year, he won a district competition in welding and auto body repair.

After high school graduation, Jacob said, he plans to attend a technical school to continue to study automobiles. He already received a couple scholarships from winning at the state competition.