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By Emily Bontrager
Brenna Schantz,16, is from Luray, Missouri and she has started up her own business called Extreme Welding. When Brenna was seven years old, her father Pat Schantz and her brother Dylan taught her how to weld.
Recently, Brenna decided to use her welding experience to start a second supervised agricultural experience (SAE) project for FFA.
“I thought that having that as a second project would be better and it’s something I like to do,” Brenna said.
“I enjoy it and I thought it would be a good way to make some money.”
Brenna is a member of the Clark County FFA Chapter and the Fox River Clovers 4-H club. This year she took her projects to the Clark County Fair to be displayed in the Art Hall. Some of her welding projects were then selected to go to the Missouri State Fair.
After the local fair, Brenna decided to start selling her welding projects.
One thing that Brenna did not realize, was how fast her business was going to take off.
“Realizing how many people wanted the stuff I was making, really boosted my energy up. I started posting them on Facebook and people wanted them pretty quickly,” Brenna said.
Each piece that Brenna creates is made out of horseshoes. The horseshoes are welded and shaped into certain designs for her customers.
Brenna describes her horseshoe projects as yard, deck, or lawn projects. The first projects that Brenna worked on were a frog, a rooster, a cow, and a pig.
“I’ve had a lot of orders for the horseshoe animals and designs, so that’s what I’m sticking to right at the moment,” Brenna said.
The price of the horseshoe lawn creations is based on how many horseshoes Brenna uses, how long it takes to make, and the price of supplies, like paint or welder wire.
“A small project with about four horseshoes is about $25,” Brenna said.
“Smaller projects I can get done in less than 30 minutes. It’s the painting that takes longer, but as far as the welding, I can get it done pretty quickly.”
Brenna has recently made flowers, angels, crosses, pineapples, flamingos, owls, and names for customers. She is also willing to weld other projects and designs.
Currently, Brenna uses a MIG welder to weld her horseshoe projects together, but she is working on getting a TIG welder as well.
“I think the TIG leaves not as much drag and not as big of a mess. It makes it smoother,” Brenna said.
“Overall, I think it will clean it up a little bit more and be a little less work than with the grinders and stuff.”
“We are working on getting a CNC plasma cutter to try to build up that business as well,” Brenna added.
The plasma cutter will allow Brenna to make signs for businesses, 2D projects, and letters.
Extreme Welding keeps Brenna busy in her free time and she tries to complete all of her projects by herself.
“I kind of go off on my own and do it. If I need some help holding something, I will ask my dad, but I try to do as much as I can by myself,” Brenna said.
“I do have a friend from school, Cameron Worrell, who helps me weld some stuff. I give him a couple of things to weld while I do some other bigger projects,” Brenna added.
“Other than that, I try to do it independently.”
Brenna advises others who are interested in welding to find a good teacher and to keep practicing.
“Get better and improve, and go to college if you want to,” Brenna said.
“I think anybody can do anything if they put their mind to it.”
Brenna is thankful for those who have helped her start up her business.
“My Aunt Kathy helps me a lot. She does help paint sometimes and she’s helped me get started as well as my mom and my dad,” Brenna said.
“She is really happy for me to see where this goes.”
Whether she is turning horseshoes into wind chimes, cows, frogs, or even palm trees, Brenna is getting the opportunity to do what she loves.
“It’s a way to get away from people,” Brenna said.
“I’m not really on my phone and my thoughts go away and I do it for fun.”
If you are interested in ordering a horseshoe lawn project you can contact Extreme Welding at 660-341-8470 or email bschantz72@ gmail.com. You can also check out the Extreme Welding Facebook Group to see Brenna’s welding work.