by Brian Carney, Vice President, SPEC MIX Inc.
In 2003 we established the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® to showcase the skill and craftsmanship of masonry, an age-old trade that today is often overlooked. We continue to grow the competition and industry by collaborating with like-minded companies such as STIHL Inc., who support the trades they serve and create awareness for the need of skilled workers now and in years to come. Hosting this competition is a great fit for our company, SPEC MIX® Inc., which makes and sells preblended mortar; since the primary goal of this event is to nationally promote these skilled craftsmen by mixing the worlds of masonry and sports. The competitors gather from across the country and globe to win the title of “World’s Best Bricklayer” as well as more than $100,000 in cash and prizes including a new Ford truck and product certificates for TS 500i STIHL Cutquik® cut-off machines.
The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 takes place annually at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas, Nev. It’s a two-person team competition consisting of a mason and a mason tender that are given 60 minutes to construct a 26-foot-8-inch, double wythe brick wall. Like all sports, this competition is well-defined by a set of rules where competitors must meet strict quality standards. Judged by more than 20 highly qualified industry experts with an average of 20 years’ experience, the award places are based on the highest brick counts meeting the quality standards and competition rules. Following the champion distinction, the second most coveted title is the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN award, where the panel of judges rate “the most sellable wall” meeting the required 500-brick minimum count.
The event has evolved over the years and is now a year-round program. Twenty teams headed to Vegas for the main event in January, after 16 separate regional qualifier competitions across North America. The winners of each regional contest compete for the championship and Top Craftsman titles at the 2014 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500. This year, for the first time ever in the history of the competition, the same person secured both titles: Jerry Goodman of Jerry Goodman & Sons Masonry in Blythewood, S.C., earned both top titles. Heidi Albea, his daughter, served as his tender. Jerry was named first place champion with 644 bricks and Top Craftsman with the most sellable wall. In addition to several thousands dollars of cash and prizes, he received two TS 500i STIHL Cutquik® cut-off machines and accessories. The second place winner was Steve Cleveland of Midwest Masonry in Valparaiso, Ind., and third place was awarded to Filipe Orfao of Res Group of Companies in Cambridge, Ont. The TOUGHEST TENDER was awarded to Tony Shelton of Creative Masonry in Afton, Tenn.
The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 was created to give back to the masonry world by having an exciting way to showcase the brickwork masons are doing on a daily basis and to reach a younger generation to let them know that the trades are a viable career choice as well as a profitable business. The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 is one of four events at “Masonry Madness Day.” Other events include the Fastest Trowel on the Block competition and the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Masonry Skills Challenge, a competition for mason apprentices in their first, second and third year of training to showcase their skills as they prove they have what it takes to succeed.
Our success is in part due to our partners, both corporate and associations, who are leaders in their categories and share our vision in supporting the industry that helps build the country. Without support of sponsors, this event would not have grown to where it is today. Over the past several years, STIHL has proven to be a great teammate and continues to help us raise the event to another level.
To learn more about SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 visit: http://www.specmixbricklayer500.com/
|Jerry Goodman, 1st place winner and Top Craftsman; Heidi Albea, tender; and Marv Mathwig, product manager, STIHL Inc.|