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Bricklayer Matt Cash on his way to laying 716 brick to win the 2017 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship.
Bricklayer Matt Cash on his way to laying 716 brick to win the 2017 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship.
January 28, 2017 9:00 AM CST

Matt Cash wins the 2017 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship

North Carolina mason laid 716 brick to take top honors

By

The 15th Anniversary of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship is now in the history books. It was held on Wednesday, January 18th in Las Vegas, Nevada during the 2017 World of Concrete & Masonry tradeshow in front of the largest crowd of masonry fans ever. After the 60-minute bricklaying battle came to the end and the judges went to work evaluating each of the 25 brick walls constructed, it was North Carolina bricklayer Matt Cash, age 35, who took first place and the title “World’s Best Bricklayer.” Matt laid 716 brick to take top honors at the international bricklaying competition which earned him the keys to a 2017 Ford F-250 XLT 4x4 truck in addition to $15,000 in cash and prizes.

It was only the young bricklayer’s second attempt at winning the World Championship, but Matt was confident he’d find a spot in the winner’s circle. In addition to his 17 years of experience, Matt comes from the state known as the mecca of skilled masons and a company, Huntley Brothers, with a reputation for developing young bricklayers into master masons. He admits, “When they called my name as the ‘World’s Best Bricklayer’ it was a huge relief…I finally got that monkey off my back. All the guys at Huntley Brothers and my family told me I was meant to win it, so it was a phenomenal feeling because I was up against a lot of great bricklayers!” His 8-year old son, Logan Mason Cash, who’s sure to be a bricklayer one day, has big plans for the prize money, “Dad, with this money we can buy all the candy in the world!”

Chet Huntley won the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER award a time of 15:12:31. Chet was the mason tender for bricklayer Matt Cash, the First Place winner of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500.
Chet Huntley won the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER award a time of 15:12:31. Chet was the mason tender for bricklayer Matt Cash, the First Place winner of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500.
Matt’s mason tender teammate was 45 year old Chet Huntley, who is also his boss and joint owner of Huntley Brothers Company located in Mint Hill, North Carolina. Earlier that day in the preliminary SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® competition Chet took first place by beating out the other 24 mason tenders who race to stage all the materials used during the headlining bricklaying event. Although he started tending mason at the age of 12, Chet didn’t break the world record set in 2005 of 11 minutes, 7 seconds, yet he got the job done in 15 minutes, 12 seconds and took home $2,500. “I was totally surprised I won…Heck my mother watching back home couldn’t believe at 45 I was the ‘Toughest Tender’. It was a great feeling—but I was thrilled for Matt—winning the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 was all he’s talked about for the past 3-4 years, and he nailed it!”

In the competition’s 15 year history it was the first time the bricklayer and mason tender each landed first place victories in their respective competitions. In the masonry industry, teamwork and strategy play major roles in a company’s success; the same holds true for the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500. Two months prior to the contest, after full days of laying brick on project sites, Matt, with Chet’s help, trained by building the official competition wall 10 separate times to perfect his craftsmanship and speed.

That hard work and dedication certainly paid off. “It was an honor competing and being a part in something that brings fun to our industry. Our whole family and company watched the competition on a big screen [TV] back in the office and they went crazy when we won. This is just a great event for masonry…It promotes the trade and gets kids excited about becoming a mason,” said Chet, who constantly mentors young masons on quality workmanship and taking pride in their craft.

Once a year bricklayers gather from all over to compete at the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship whose qualifying competitions are held earlier in the previous year. The First Place winners of the Regional events advance to compete in Las Vegas during the World of Concrete trade show. This year, 25 bricklayers competed for top honors.

SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN winner Brian Tuttle (left) and his mason tender Todd Eldredge (right) stand by their winning wall.
SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN winner Brian Tuttle (left) and his mason tender Todd Eldredge (right) stand by their winning wall.
The SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN Award is given to the team who builds the “most sellable” wall with over 500 brick and zero quality deductions. Bricklayer Brian Tuttle, age 42, with Quik Trowell Masonry of Clearfield, Utah took home the 2017 honors. A mason for 22 years, Brian laid 536 brick to win the award. His mason tender was Todd Eldredge. Considered a veteran of the event, over the past 15 years Brian has competed a total of 14 times; 8 times as a bricklayer and 6 times as a mason tender, a record that has never been challenged and will be tough to beat.

David Chavez (right) won second place with 658 brick laid. David’s mason tender was Omar Castro (left), both are with Ranch Masonry in Houston, Texas.
David Chavez (right) won second place with 658 brick laid. David’s mason tender was Omar Castro (left), both are with Ranch Masonry in Houston, Texas.
David Chavez, age 33, took second place by laying 658 brick with his tender Omar Castro. They are with Ranch Masonry in Houston, Texas. No rookie to the event, David has competed in the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship twice before. David has been a mason for 13 years and comes from a family deeply rooted in masonry. David gives credit to his brother, Juan Carlos, who taught him the skill and coached him rigorously for the World Championship; which they agree was time well spent.

Esteban Cabral (left) took third place with 639 brick laid. His mason tender was Oscar Gaucin (right), both are with Phoenix Masonry of Denver, Colorado.
Esteban Cabral (left) took third place with 639 brick laid. His mason tender was Oscar Gaucin (right), both are with Phoenix Masonry of Denver, Colorado.
Esteban Cabral, age 31, took third place with 639 brick laid. His mason tender was Oscar Gaucin, both employed by Phoenix Masonry of Denver, Colorado. Although he’s been laying brick for 14 years, this was the second time Esteban and Oscar competed as a team in the World Championship competition.

An estimated 4,000 saw a display of skill, speed and stamina in an intense battle between 25 two-man teams comprised of one mason and one mason tender racing against a 60-minute clock to build a 26’-8” double-wythe brick wall. While working at a feverish clip to install as many units as possible, each team must adhere to the strict quality standards, judged by 30 highly qualified masonry experts enforcing 10 sets of craftsmanship requirements. It’s the world’s largest masonry competition that decides which bricklayer from the US, Canada, or England wins the title of “World’s Best Bricklayer” and a purse of over $100,000 in cash and prizes including a 2017 Ford F-250 4x4 XLT Super Duty truck.

The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 initiative was created to give back to the masonry trade and has expanded in many positive aspects. Regardless of its growth the event remains laser-focused on achieving its original goals of uniting the masonry industry and putting the craft’s trowel-toting artisans on the world’s stage. It’s also taken on the role as the masonry industry’s top marketing campaign, frequently leveraged by industry professionals to infuse a strong sense of pride within its craftsmen, as well as masonry instructors using it as a tool to recruit young adults and individuals looking to start a new career.

For more information on this event go to www.specmixbricklayer500.com or go to The 2017 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship Digital Magazine that will give you a history and background of the Regional and World Championship competition program.


About the Author

Jeff Farmakes is the Marketing Communications Manager for SPEC MIX®, Inc.

 

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