2017 California Fastest Trowel on the Block Results
The Results Are in!
By Lyn Oleson
The 2017 California Fastest Trowel on the Block, Masonry Skills Challenge, and Bob Freeman Most Accurate Trowel high school masonry competition were hosted by Angelus Block at their EZ Mix location in Rialto. This event is a huge showcase of masonry craftsmanship and a testament to the speed and skills of the Southern California masonry industry’s workforce. Brought to you by Angelus Block, ORCO Block & Hardscape, and RCP Block & Brick, only those working journeyman masons who have the skill, confidence, and courage to face off with the Industry’s best are invited to compete in Fastest Trowel on the Block.
To officially open the event, Rialto High School Junior year Choir student, Viridiana Galicia, performed a cappella our national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner, before a crowd of competitors, families, contractors, suppliers, and judges.
There’s money to win, fame to be gained, and 20 masons were ready to take on the 20 minute challenge to complete as much of a 30 foot long concrete block wall as possible using only their hand tools. Each mason has 1 tender as team partner, that stages the mortar boards, 8”x8”x16” concrete blocks, and shaking the mud for the mason.
With 130 block laid, and judged as the best skilled, cleanest, most correct, in time allowed, mason Howard Cole of Fontana won it again! Howard is a multi-year 4-time California champion in the competition. And once again, Howard earns the privilege to compete at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry 2018 in MASONRY MADNESS® in Las Vegas where thousands of dollars in cash and prizes will be given away!
Angelus Block President Edward Antonini presented Howard with the big check payout of $2,500. Howard is foreman with NuWay Masonry Inc. in Riverside. With MITA apprentice Martin Avendano as tender in the competition, they’re enjoying outstanding success.
1st PlaceHoward Cole with NuWay Masonry, Inc.
2nd PlaceBob Christensen with Haxton Masonry
3rd PlaceJuan Romero with OC Hills Company
Simultaneously held in conjunction with the Fastest Trowel, California’s Masonry Skills Challenge and MITA’s interscholastic high school competition take place. Like a 3 ring circus there’s lots going on.
The Masonry Skills Challenge hosted 15 dedicated and eager 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year bricklayer apprentices. They were put to a 3 hour timed test to build individual projects with block and brick, and then scored by a team of judges who are all seasoned masonry industry skills experts. Big shout-out and congratulations to these winners:
1st Year ApprenticeAnthony Gomez with Majestic Masonry
2nd Year ApprenticeCristian Lopez with New Dimension Masonry
3rd Year ApprenticeAdrian Diaz with Winegardner Masonry
They’ll go to World of Concrete/World of Masonry 2018 too, competing alongside the ‘Best of the Best’ apprentices from around the U.S.
The Bob Freeman Most Accurate Trowel high school competition is critically important to introducing pathways to an in-demand occupation. MITA introduces masonry skills in high schools, and this event allows masonry students to enter a team of 2 masons and 1 tender, in a timed event to build a 13 ft. 3 5/8” wall. They build a first course of 8”x8”x16” block, and thereafter build with precision 4″ highs. They are allowed to lay their first course before the clock starts. Then, they have 25 minutes to lay block. 1 minute break between laying and tooling. Then 5 minutes to tool joints.
Cheers and congratulations to every student who participated! This is huge for you, and your future looks bright! Employers are waiting to hire younger skilled masons, so hit the blocks, and the books.
1st PlaceOntario High School of Chaffey Joint Union High School District
Masons: Adonas Sandoval and Usiel Robledo
Tender: Gabriel Gonzalez
2nd PlaceUpland High School of Upland Unified School District
Masons: Joseph Gideon and Angel Andrade
Tender: Maria Morales (oh yes she did!)
3rd PlaceBoys Republic High School of Chino Valley Unified
Masons: Samuel Castro and Carlos Godinez
Tender: Gabriel Ortiz
The winning school received a powerful MK Electric Series Brick & Block Saws donated by MK Diamond – lucky Ontario High School masonry lab!
Visit trainmason.org/fastesttrowel for photos and additional information.
Enormous thanks and gratitude to industry sponsors who made the event possible. We’re most thankful for your valuable donations of time, effort, participation, and on-site presence in support of our masonry industry. We thank you!
About the Author
Lyn Oleson is the Program Director of the Masonry Industry Training Association (MITA).