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Richie King (left) and Howard Cole (right)
Richie King (left) and Howard Cole (right)
December 29, 2014 2:00 PM CST

MITA alumni compete at Fastest Trowel

Cole and White to compete at national competition in Vegas


Who laid the most block in the Fastest Trowel competition at Baselite Concrete Products in Dixon this year? It was former MITA student Howard Cole. He did 111 block in just 20 minutes! Yes one-hundred-eleven block. Not only did Howard start out as a MITA Apprentice, but masonry foreman Richie King started as a MITA student too. For real! Now they enjoy great careers in the industry, and support MITA trainees and apprentices with their leadership. We appreciate you MITA alumni!

At the Fastest Trowel at Dixon, journeymen put their speed and skill to the test against a 20-minute clock. They try to complete as much as possible of a 24‐foot long wall of standard, medium weight, 8”x 8”x 16” concrete masonry units. Each contestant (a journeyman with his favorite tender) uses the same weight block and the same mortar, supplied by Basalite. They can temper their mud with water or san190d.

They get a half hour or so before the clock starts to work their mortar, locate and set the height of the mortar boards, and finalize the locations of their block stacks. During this time period the contestant will also lay a 24‐foot base course and check the alignment (they don't count the block in the base course in the final total) but it must be all full size units. And the wall starts and end with half units, to have an actual finished length of 24 feet.

Howard laid the most to take 2nd place. But the judging also includes true and workmanship subjectively rated, and 1st place went to a multi-year winner Keith White of Stonelake Masonry.

About the Author

Lyn Oleson is the Program Director of the Masonry Industry Training Association (MITA).


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