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Thousands of fans watched the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship in the Bronze Lot at the MASONRY MADNESS Arena
Thousands of fans watched the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship in the Bronze Lot at the MASONRY MADNESS Arena
February 26, 2018 8:00 AM CST

MASONRY MADNESS® Day Draws Record Crowd At World Of Concrete Trade Show

Over 90 elite tradesmen battled in four consecutive competitions

By

The energy was palpable at the 2018 World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas. Nearly 60,000 (58,222) registered professionals from around the world packed the Convention Center, ready to promote concrete production and placement. With their largest event in 9 years, the World of Concrete was poised to show off all the best the industry has to offer, benefitting suppliers, products, services and education. (Watch the Highlight Video: ENGLISH or ESPAÑOL)

The greatest attraction was outside in the Bronze Lot on Wednesday, January 24th for MASONRY MADNESS® Day. Recognized as one of the most exciting and entertaining experiences at the WOC, thousands of spectators had a front row seat to masonry history. Over 90 elite tradesmen battled in four consecutive competitions designed to push their endurance and skills to new heights.

The action started at 9:00 AM with the MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge, an event designed to test the ability of the industries newest masons. Secondly, the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® competition, a race to set up the arena for the main event. Thirdly, the MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block, where masons raced to build a concrete wall in only twenty minutes. At noon, the 16th annual SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® took center stage, as 28 skilled professionals, pushed their physical abilities in hopes of taking home the Grand Prize, a 2018 Ford F-250 4x4 XLT truck.

As part of the event, attendees were able to participate in sponsor demonstrations and games to win cash and prizes as they discovered the latest product innovations impacting the construction industry.

MASONRY MADNESS® Day was jump-started prior to the competitions on Tuesday, with the 3rd Annual “Masonry Innovations & Workforce Development Zone” sponsored by SPEC MIX® and the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA). This special section of the arena was a major hit with spectators, as it showcased the latest industry advancements making a positive impact on masonry construction. There were 17 stations that educated attendees through various displays and live demonstrations on the new technology, products and systems making the masonry labor force and jobsites more efficient, productive and safe. The ultimate goal of the event was to show that the masonry industry has significantly evolved over the past 6 years allowing it to be more attractive when recruiting and expanding a much needed workforce.

A raised brick wall tribute to the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 built by International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers in the Innovation & Workforce Development Zone.
A raised brick wall tribute to the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 built by International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers in the Innovation & Workforce Development Zone.
Captivating the crowd were the following Masonry Innovations & Workforce Development Zone events:
  • “SAM” & “MULE” the robotic mason
  • BIM-Masonry demo and learning session
  • IMI/BAC’s “500” brick wall and demonstrations of new masonry wall systems and installations
  • NCCER careers & training in the construction industry
  • iQ Power Tools, Pullman Ermator & SPEC MIX Dust Management Solutions
  • NSVI demonstration on natural stone thin veneer installation
  • MCAA/LIUNA tradesman certification sessions
  • Prosoco’s proper use of masonry cleaners, sealers and air-weather barrier systems
  • Cast Stone Industry information on manufactured veneer units
  • JAG Clamp demonstration of tools to improve craftsmanship
  • Hohmann & Barnard training on its ENVIRO-BARRIER™ fluid applied air barriers
  • Masonry Heater Association cooking wood-fired pizzas and education on benefits of masonry fireplaces
  • Iron Age Work Boots displays new technology making footwear more safe and comfortable

Standing with the officers of the MCAA is the first, second and third year place winners of the 2018 MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge

MCAA’s Masonry Skills Challenge

MCAA’s Masonry Skills Challenge is the national championship of masonry apprentices in first, second and third year skill levels. The contest consisted of 29 aspiring masons given three hours to showcase their skills by challenging the winning apprentices from numerous regional U.S. and foreign competitions to determine the top masonry apprentice at each level. This exciting competition spotlights the industry's finest young masons and focuses attention on careers in the masonry industry. Below are the 2018 winners.

1st Year Apprentices

  • First place ($750)– Jamison Huntley, Huntley Brothers Company, Inc., Mint Hill, NC
  • Second place ($500) – Mitch Kittinger, Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council, Amherst, OH
  • Third place ($250)– Michael Patterson, Larson + Danialson, La Porte, IN

2nd Year Apprentices

  • First place ($750)– Jonathan Weininger, Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council, Amherst, OH
  • Second place ($500)– Josh Morris, AAA Masonry, Inc., Jefferson City, MO
  • Third place ($250)– Tyler Hack, Weigand Construction, Fort Wayne, IN

3rd Year Apprentices

  • First place ($750)–– Austin McEwen, Adams Masonry, Inc., Chattanooga, TN
  • Second place ($500)– Jaris McClurg, WASCO, Inc., Knoxville, TN
  • Third place ($250)– Charlie Coburn, Schiffer Mason Contractors, Holt, MI

Nicholas Miller won the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® award a time of 15:00:44. Nicholas was the mason tender for bricklayer Jake Brock.
Nicholas Miller won the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® award a time of 15:00:44. Nicholas was the mason tender for bricklayer Jake Brock.

SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER®

The SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® Competition is a combination of speed and detail that requires each of the 28 mason tenders of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 to strategically lift, carry and place thousands of pounds of materials and tools needed to set up the bricklayer’s defined workstation. This year’s SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER title went to Nicholas Miller with Brock Construction. Nick gave it his all and worked with precision to record a time of 15:00:44 to win the following:
  • $2,500 check & SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® Trophy from SPEC MIX
  • STIHL $700 Product Certificate
  • iQ POWER TOOLS $200 iQ gift pack & iQ jacket
  • BLAKLADER $500 Gift Certificate
  • MARSHALLTOWN loaded SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 tool bag

Blocklayer Jose Soto and his mason tender Tomas Quinonez win the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block with a block count of 126.
Blocklayer Jose Soto and his mason tender Tomas Quinonez win the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block with a block count of 126. Photo by Bruce Starrenburg.

MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block

This competition drew 20 of North America’s best blocklaying masons who raced for 20 minutes to construct a straight, 30 foot block wall using 8”x8”x16” CMU while meeting strict quality craftsmanship specifications. The level of skill and speed displayed by the masons was fierce, but in the end, it was the Arizona competitors that took the top three honors with just 3 block making the difference between first and third place.

This year’s first place winner was Jose Soto with the help of his mason tender Tomas Quinonez, both with Sargon Masonry in Phoenix, AZ. In this grueling competition, Jose beat out 20 tough competitors by laying 126 blocks to claim the Fastest Trowel on the Block title and win the following cash and prizes:
  • $8,000 check and First Place trophy from SPEC MIX
  • Marshalltown Ceremonial Trowel Trophy and loaded tool bag
  • STIHL $500 product certificate
  • GATORBACK Mortarboards - 10 pack
Second place went to Gerardo Patlan who worked with mason tender Roberto Patlan on behalf of Fyffe Masonry & Plastering, Inc. in Phoenix, AZ. Gerardo laid a total of 125 blocks to win $2,500 and additional prizes.

Finishing in third place and taking home $1,500 plus prizes with a block count of 123 was Noe Martinez and his mason tender Heriberto Estrada both with Stone Cold Masonry in Phoenix, AZ.

Bricklayer David Chavez (left) and his mason tender, Miguel Contreras (right), celebrate winning the 2018 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship.
Bricklayer David Chavez (left) and his mason tender, Miguel Contreras (right), celebrate winning the 2018 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship.

SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship

The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship Event (Watch the highlight video: ENGLISH or ESPAÑOL) is renowned as the top attraction for the World of Concrete trade show. The competition arena was filled with a crowd of over 5,000 spectators who witnessed an intense battle between 28 bricklayer and mason tender teams that raced against a 60-minute clock to build a 26’-8” double-wythe brick wall. Representing the countries of U.S., Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, the duos worked at a feverish clip to install as many units as possible while following strict quality workmanship standards. The bricklayer’s walls were judged by 30 highly experienced masonry experts, enforcing 10 sets of craftsmanship requirements. The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 is recognized as the masonry industry’s only true test of skill, speed and stamina that annually awards the title “World’s Best Bricklayer” and total purse of over $125,000 in cash and prizes including a new Ford F-250 4x4 XLT Super Duty truck and a John Deere UVX835 Crossover Utility Vehicle.

First place winner, David Chavez, won the title “World’s Best Bricklayer” with the help of his friend and mason tender Miguel Contreras with Ranch Masonry, based in Houston, TX. David has 14 years of experience that started learning the trade from his
brother Juan Carlos. Since David learned of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 he’s had his sights set on winning the championship. He trained diligently for months prior to the competition and worked as a team during the competition to beat the field of bricklayers with a final count of 698 bricks with no deductions. For his World Champion performance David won the following:
  • FORD 2018 F-250 4x4 XLT Super Duty Truck
  • $5,000 check, SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Champion Jacket and 1st Place Trophy from SPEC MIX®
  • ESSICK PRO 12 Mortar Mixer
  • STIHL TSA 230 battery-powered cut-off machine, 9” wheel, AR 900 battery, AL 500 high-speed charger
  • iQ POWER TOOLS 360 Table Saw Set, Rolling Table, Smart Cart and a 14” Silent Blade
  • BLAKLADER $1000 gift certificate
  • STABILA Custom Trophy 24” level and plaque
  • MARSHALLTOWN trophy trowel & loaded SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 tool bag
  • GATORBACK Mortarboards - 10 pack

SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® winner Leif Reints (middle) and his mason tender Michael Weisinger (left) pose with emcee Jim O’Connor of the Greater Chicago Mason Contractor Association.
SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® winner Leif Reints (middle) and his mason tender Michael Weisinger (left) pose with emcee Jim O’Connor of the Greater Chicago Mason Contractor Association.

SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN®

The SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® Award is the second most coveted title and prize package for the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 and is given to the bricklayer who builds what judges deem the “most sellable wall” with over 500 brick and zero quality deductions. Bricklayer Leif Reints with Reints Masonry in Wyandotte, OK, with the help of mason tender Michael Weisinger, won the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN Award with 625 perfectly laid brick. A mason for 18 years, Leif is an experienced veteran competitor and past 2012 World Champion. For winning the TOP CRAFTSMAN Award Leif won the following prizes:
  • John Deere UXV835 Crossover Utility Vehicle
  • $5,000 Check and SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN Trophy from SPEC MIX
  • STIHL TSA 230 battery-powered cut-off machine, 9” wheel, (2) AP 300 battery, AL 500 high-speed charger
  • BLAKLADER $1000 gift certificate
  • STABILA Custom Trophy 24” level and plaque
  • MARSHALLTOWN trophy trowel & loaded SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 tool bag
  • GATORBACK Mortarboards - 10 pack

Standing beside Chavez and Reints in the winners’ circle, Second Place honors went to Brian Tuttle of Quik Trowell Masonry in Clearfield, UT. A mason for 23 years, Brian laid 689 brick to win $4,000 and over $1,500 in sponsor prizes. His mason tender was his brother; best friend and business partner Scott Tuttle, who as a bricklayer was the 2016 Champion and 2012 TOP CRAFTSMAN winner. Considered a veteran of the competition, over the past 16 years Brian competed 15 times; 9 times as a bricklayer and 6 times as a mason tender, an attendance record that has never been challenged.

Rounding out the pool of winners was the 2017 defending champion Matt Cash of Huntley Brothers Company in Mint Hill, NC. With a large crew of family and friends rooting him on, Cash (35) laid 658 brick to claim Third Place and a check for $3,000 plus $1,500 in prizes.

For more information on these events go to:

SPECMIX BRICKLAYER 500® WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP & SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER®

www.specmixbricklayer500.com or go to The 2018 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship Digital Magazine that will give you a history and background of the Regional Qualifying Series and World Championship competition program.

MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block

For more information on this event go to: www.fastesttrowel.com

MCAA’s Masonry Skills Challenge

For more information on this event go to: www.masonryskillschallenge.com


About the Author

Jeff Farmakes is the Marketing Communications Manager for SPEC MIX®, Inc.

 

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