South Carolina mason wins “World Series of Bricklaying”
Jerry Goodman has won the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500
For the first time in the event’s 12-year history, the top two awards of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® National Championship were claimed by a father-daughter team who had the winning hand that earned them a 2014 Ford F-250 4x4 truck and over $20,000 in cash and prizes. With the help of his mason tender and daughter, Heidi Albea, the 56-year old mason, Jerry Goodman of Blythewood, South Carolina, laid 644 brick in one hour to win the competition’s highest pair of honors: “World’s Best Bricklayer” and “Top Craftsman”. While competing against19 other world-class bricklayers from North America, Goodman was the competitor to lay the most brick without any brick deductions, an accomplishment that is difficult to achieve considering the strict quality workmanship standards closely judged by a panel of 25 experienced judges. The event took place Wednesday, January 22nd in the Masonry Madness Arena during the World of Concrete/World of Masonry tradeshow at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada.
This wasn’t the first time Goodman and Albea have worked together; they are two of the family’s three masons that make up Jerry Goodman Masonry. The champion’s son, Donny, who was cheering from the crowd with his mother, Bobbi, and12 other family members, is the company’s other trowel-toter that represents the small family business. With masonry in their blood, it’s a safe bet that the Goodman name will appear in the roster of future SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 competitions. However, the immediate question is whether Jerry will return to Las Vegas in 2015 for the National Championship to defend his dual titles, which is an expected tradition of the top two trophy winners.
When the competition emcee Tom Clark asked Goodman if he would be back to retain his titles he responded, “I might come back but it won’t be to compete as a mason but my youngest son [Donny] might be there and I’d be helping out. I might try and win that TOUGHEST TENDER competition.” The TOUGHEST TENDER is an undercard event that challenges each team’s mason tender to stage all the bricklayer’s materials and tools as quickly as possible while following a prescribed layout. The payoff for the winning tender is $2,500 for what typically amounts to less than 20-minutes of extremely hard work. When Heidi was asked if her dad doesn’t return would she be the tender for her brother Donny, “Oh yeah...This thing is AWSOME!” Her father leaned in and said, “I told her my goal one day would be to have her here on the wall and I would be the one helping her out. I’d like to see that someday, that would be something.”
Although Goodman and Albea qualified for the 2013 National Championship, they didn’t end up in the winner’s circle, so the mason questioned whether he’d compete in the Carolina’s regional competition for another shot at the 2014 title belt. Goodman tells the story of his daughter’s persistence, “She talked me into competing last year, and we didn’t place so I thought I’m done. But she said, ‘Come on Dad just one more year,’ and I said OK let’s do it! One more year, but win, lose or draw, I said this is my last year because it’s just too intense.” Apparently Heidi knew better and the team made their way to Las Vegas and won big.
In addition to winning the shiny-new red Ford F-250 XLT 4x4 Crew Cab pick-up, Jerry and Heidi won $10,000 in cash and a truckload of sponsor prizes including a Essick Pro12 Mortar Mixer, two STIHL-TS 500i Cutquik cut-off machines, two loaded Marshalltown tool bags and trophy trowel, two IQ360 14” masonry saws with its Smart Cart accessory, two Crick custom levels and two 10-packs of Gatorback Mortarboards. And, like all the previous Champions, Goodman, with his wife Bobbie riding shotgun, loaded up his prize truck with all his winnings for the drive home where they’ll be greeted by family and friends to celebrate the victory.
To earn a seat at the Championship event, the bricklayers had to win one of 16 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 regional qualifying competitions the SPEC MIX organization held in 2013 throughout the United States and Canada. Competition bricklayers came from states such as Ohio, Washington, Illinois, Utah, East Tennessee, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, West Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Iowa, Northern California, Arizona and the Alberta and Ontario provinces. The 2013 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 National Champion, Fred Campbell, with Creative Masonry, from Jonesborough, Tennessee returned to defend his title as well as the 2013 SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® winner, Steve Cleveland, with Midwest Masonry, from Valparaiso, Indiana.
The 2nd place overall winner was Steve Cleveland, age 39, with Midwest Masonry, Mundelein, Indiana, who laid 604 brick without any deductions. Steve won $4,000 cash, a STIHL-TS 420 Cutquik cut-off machine with a 14” abrasive, and pre-loaded Marshalltown tool bag, a custom 2nd place Crick custom level and a case of Gatorback Mortarboards. Cleveland, a veteran competitor and winner of the 2013 SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN award, was paired with mason tender Sedat Supurgeci.
The 3rd place overall winner was mason 44 year old Filipe Orfao from Cambridge, Ontario, who is with Res Group of Companies, located in Cookstown, Ontario. Filipe a veteran competitor event laid 588 brick and his mason tender was his brother Jose Orfao of Hamilton, Ontario. Filipe won $3,000 in cash, a $700 STIHL gift certificate and a loaded Marshalltown tool bag, a custom 3rd place Crick custom level, and a 10-pack of Gatorback Mortarboards.
Established in 2003 by SPEC MIX, Inc. to showcase the skill and craftsmanship of masons across North America while creating greater awareness in the masonry trade, the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 is considered the world’s largest trade competition. Held annually at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry tradeshow, twenty or more 2-man teams consisting of a mason and mason tender compete for 60-minutes to lay the most brick in a 26 foot 8 inch, double wythe brick wall while meeting strictly defined quality standards. The competition has four awards for its masons; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, which are based on the highest brick count meeting the quality standards. The 4th award, the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN, is judged the “most sellable wall” with at least 500 or brick and zero deductions. The walls are closely evaluated by 25 carefully selected masonry officials averaging 20 years of bricklaying experience. The National and Regional events are sponsored and promoted by Platinum, Gold and Contributor sponsors that represent many of the masonry industry’s leading brands, innovators and supporters of masonry tradesmen.
For more details about the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® masonry competition go to www.specmixbricklayer500.com.
About the Author
Jeff Farmakes is the Marketing Communications Manager for SPEC MIX®, Inc.