I met Stephanie Mathis about a year and a half ago. It was immediately evident that she was a real-deal, bad ass woman. She is a mom of 2 boys, the wife of a rancher, a rancher herself, the president of the school board where her sons attend and so much more. Stephanie has broken through the average stay-at-home mom stereotype. She does all the hard jobs on her ranch better than most men, including roping, wood working, cattle work and even welding! We are so excited to have Stephanie share her knowledge of welding and empower women to step across the line in the sand and try something that has been stereotypically something men do. Thank you Stephanie for your inspiration!
WHS: Describe your childhood growing up on a ranch.
Stephanie Mathis: I grew up mostly wild, running barefoot and in hand-me-downs, the 3rd of 4 children, stuck between brothers. I had an ideal childhood filled with adventure and hard work.
WHS: When and how did you begin welding?
SM: In college I took a welding class and ended up making new stall doors four our barn at home as my project. I saved my parents some money and got a a good grade - I was in love!
WHS: What things have you made or worked on? more creative or functional?
SM: I mostly have welded for functional projects. Lots and lots of fence work (H braces). Only in the past couple of years have I branched out into more creative projects.
WHS: Why do you think women should try and could enjoy welding?
SM: In general, with practice, women are better welders. We have better fine motor skills and slower heart rates, which make us more suited to it. I also think that this is just another area we as women shouldn't limit ourselves. I am so glad my 2 sons see how capable I am and that all women can be.
WHS: Is welding dangerous?
SM: Welding can be dangerous. The type of welding we are going to be doing isn't as dangerous, but generally, yes it's dangerous. Anytime you are working with extremely hot metal and sparks, you need to take precautions. But realistically, the drive to my house is more dangerous than welding! We will save the underwater welding for the professionals and the adrenaline junkies.
WHS: How does welding fit into your lifestyle?
SM: On the ranch there are many welding projects that I can do to help out. Whether it is welding fence braces or float guards on troughs, there is something that always needs to be done. I am also experimenting with light fixtures, furniture etc. My lifestyle encourages me to continue to use and improve my welding skills.
Sign up today for the welding class "Let the Sparks Fly" October 22 with Stepahnie. Spots are limited as it will be a small group!
Thank you Stephanie, we are so excited for the class!
Photos by Katie Cota