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October 29, 2011 3:00 PM CDT

SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 Regional brings out Arizona's best masons

CJS Enterprises in Phoenix takes top honors


Art Canez took top honors at the 2011 SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500® Phoenix Regional.

Art Canez took top honors at the 2011 SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500® Phoenix Regional.
On Saturday, October 8th Art Canez of CJS Enterprises, Phoenix, Arizona took top honors at the 2011 SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500® Phoenix Regional competition. Working against the clock and within the event's workmanship criteria, Canez installed 587 total brick during the 60-minute contest to produce a final net count of 462 brick after judging. Competing alongside nine other teams, Canez, at the spry age of 58, and his mason tender, Lupe Salcido, bested the field's other highly skilled Arizona masons to win 1st Place and the title "Arizona's Best Bricklayer."

For Mr. Canez, competing in masonry competitions is something he truly enjoys-and does it with success. He has won the Arizona Fastest Trowel on the Block twice and won the National Fastest Trowel on the Block Championship in 1998 in Charlotte, NC during the Masonry Expo. Canez admits, "It's been almost four years since I've competed in a masonry contest, so I had some concerns. But as soon as I started putting the brick into the wall everything just started to click. One thing is for sure, I'll have a new strategy for Nationals, not to mention many practice sessions." Canez's speed and craftsmanship brought him cash and prizes along with an expense-paid trip to Las Vegas to compete in the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 National Competition at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in January 2012. There, he will compete with 20 other masons from the U.S., Canada, England and Australia for the chance to be crowned the "World's Best Bricklayer" and drive away in a 2012 Ford F250 XLT 4x4 Super Duty Truck, as well as $5,000 and a load of prizes.

What's the perfect arena for a bricklaying competition? Well, you can't beat a brickyard. SPEC MIX Representative Kip Bretting partnered with the team at Phoenix Brick Yard who hosted the event at their 94-year old brick plant, the largest clay products facility in the southwest. The day was filled with masonry industry professionals from the area along with numerous supportive suppliers showing off some of their latest products. Johnson Level was on hand to show off its extensive line of tools and leveling systems while Arizona Stone set up an information and product booth showing the masons what products and services they provide. Sanderson Ford brought out a Ford F-250 truck to give the competitors a glance at what the first place prize in Las Vegas might resemble. Carne Asada, burgers, dogs and beverages were provided and the Arizona sunshine lived up to expectations without being too hot. It all made for a great Saturday morning in Phoenix.

Second place and the TOP CRAFTSMAN award were claimed by bricklayer Johnnie Yazzie of Rhino Masonry while Kris Chee, also with Rhino Masonry, took home the third place award, also including prizes and cash. Both of these masons also put on a great show for the large crowd of spectators.

The SPEC MIX team congratulates each of the Arizona winners and thanks all the competitors, Phoenix Brickyard and the other local sponsors: Western Block, Easy Spred, Cemex, Rhino Masonry, Action Scaffolding, Marvel Building Products, Arizona Stone, and Lehigh Cement.

About the Author

Lori Maximenko is the Executive Director for the Arizona Masonry Contractors Association.


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