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July 15, 2002 3:38 PM CDT

Young Mason Attempts To Repeat as Winner of National Competition


The North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) held its Annual Apprentice Masonry Skills Contest on May 18, 2002 at Triangle Brick Company in Wadesboro, NC. Thirty-nine contestants from 12 NCMCA member firms competed for cash, tool prizes, and the prestigious David R. Sigmon award for the contest's highest score.

This year's Sigmon award winner was Garrett Hood of McGee Brothers Company in Monroe, N.C. His prizes included $600.00 in cash which is traditionally matched by the employer along with a MK Diamond brick saw and a wheelbarrow load of masonry tools. And he gets to keep the wheelbarrow. Hood, who just graduated from Central Cabarrus High School in Concord, N.C., has been accepted at the North Carolina State University Schools of Engineering to study civil engineering this fall. He is the son of Wayne and Roberta Hood of Midland, NC.

Hood might be described as the "Tiger Woods" of apprentice masonry contestants. He won the North Carolina SkillsUSA-VICA High School Masonry Championship in 2001 as a junior and went on to win the 2001 National Championship. He repeated as North Carolina Champion earlier this spring and will defend his national title this summer at the SkillsUSA-VICA National Conference in June. The results of this year's SkillsUSA-VICA Techspo competition will be reported in an upcoming issue of Masonry.

Hood was also the winner of the North Carolina Department of Labor Annual State Fair Masonry Apprentice Contest last fall in Raleigh and was recently named the North Carolina Department of Labor's High School Apprentice of the Year.

Hood's success in the national competition follows that of many other North Carolinians. However, it has been many years since a winner has repeated in the same category. About the possibility of repeating as "champ," Hood says, "I'm actually pretty confident. Winning the competition again would really be something!"

Not surprisingly, Hood is a hard-working young mason. During high school, Hood worked for McGee Brothers on Saturdays and on his days off from school. His hard work has had some personal impact on Hood. He has had to abandon his lone hobby, motocross racing. "It was hard to give it up but injuries, like a broken jaw, were adding up," Hood said. "And they were adding up to days that I had to miss from work. I couldn't do that any more."

Todd Hartsell, Hood's high school masonry instructor, recalls, "He took my introductory class as a sophomore, and I remember that he caught on very quickly." As for his future, Hartsell says of Hood, "Garrett is a fine young man with a level head. It's obvious that he's a fine young mason, as well. I know from working with him that he has a bright future ahead of him."

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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