Words: Dan Kamys

The 2010 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500?? National bricklaying championship decided, “Who is the World’s Best Bricklayer?”

Mason Garrett Hood from North Carolina, took first place overall with 911 brick laid. This timed, 60 minute competition was held in February at the Masonry Construction’s Challenge Arena, located in the Gold Lot, at the 2010 World of Concrete/World of Masonry trade show. This is the largest annual construction trade show in the world. It is held once a year at the Las Vegas Convention Center, in Las Vegas.

The 2010 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 National is a bricklaying competition comprised of the best bricklayers in the world. Twenty, twoman teams made up of a mason and mason tender, compete to lay the most brick while meeting strictly defined quality standards. The competition has the largest winner’s purse of any masonry competition. The competitors compete for well over $100,000 in cash and prizes before a crowd of 4,000 spectators.

First place winner, Garrett Hood, age 25, a mason with McGee Brothers Company, Monroe, N. C., was declared ”World’s Best Bricklayer,” with 911 brick laid in just sixty minutes, which is the highest count ever at the National event. Garrett won the grand prize of a new 2010 Ford F250, XLT, V8, SuperDuty, CrewCab, 4 x 4 truck with an innovative Ford Work Solutions package. Garrett also won $5,000 in cash, a STIHL TS 420 Cutquik?? cutoff machine, and thousands in sponsor prizes. Garrett's mason tender was Kevin Hallman also with McGee Brothers Company.

Garrett has a history of winning bricklaying championships; he is even a former SkillsUSA National masonry champion. He also took first place in the 2008 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 National and took second place in 2009. Garrett has made a name for himself in his nine year career in masonry.

The SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 TOP CRAFTSMAN award was given to mason Joseph Vanek, of Vanek Masonry, Oak Forest, Ill. Joseph laid 570 brick and that combined brick count and quality of his wall was judged the, “most sellable.” Joseph’s tender was Bob Vanek, also with Vanek Masonry. As the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN, Joseph won $5,000 in cash, an EZ Grout MH12 Mud Hog mixer, a STIHL TS 420 Cutquik?? cutoff machine and thousands in sponsor prizes.

The 2nd place overall winner was mason Ken Rutley, with Mayzes Masonry, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Ken laid 818 brick and his tender was Adam Giesbrecht. Ken won $4,000 cash and sponsor prizes.

The 3rd place overall winner was mason Adam Vaske, with Seedorff Masonry, Strawberry Point, Iowa. Adam laid 691 brick and his tender was Don Vaske, also with Seedorff Masonry. Adam won $3,000 in cash and sponsor prizes.

The SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER winner was Aaron Cooke, with Giambrone Masonry, Inc., Hudson, Ohio. Aaron won $2,500 in cash and sponsor prizes. The SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER is a preliminary event held just before SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 National. In this event the tenders race the clock to set up a predefined work area for the mason. Aaron’s winning time was 19 minutes.

Established to showcase the skill and craftsmanship of masonry, the general description of the bricklaying competition is as follows: The contest requires all masons to meet the quality standards of the event. They have 60 minutes to complete their 26 foot, double wythe brick wall. The competition has four awards; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place are based on the highest brick count meeting the quality standards. The 4th award, and arguably considered the most coveted price, the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN is judged the most sellable wall over 500 brick. The walls are closely evaluated by 20 carefully selected masonry officials averaging 20 years of bricklaying experience. Many of the competitors feel winning the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN award is their main goal, and it has the second highest award purse.

This year’s competition is made up of winning bricklayers from 13 qualifying regional competitions held nationwide in the US & Canada. Competition bricklayers come from states such as Ohio, California, Washington, Wisconsin, Iowa, Utah, Kentucky, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, and North Carolina, and from the Canadian provinces of Alberta, and Ontario. The 1st Place winner of the 2009 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500?? also returned to defend his title.

Truck, cash, and prizes are provided by these 2010 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500?? National sponsors:

Platinum Level Sponsors
SPEC MIX??, Inc.
Masonry Construction Magazine
Ford Trucks
Hydro Mobile
Prism Pigments

Gold Level Sponsors
Marshalltown Company
Acme Brick
EZ Grout
Blaklader Workwear
Mortar Net

Contributor Level Sponsors
GATORBACK Mortarboards
Sterling Handling Equipment
EZ Mix Products
Angelus Block
Building Lime Group
Safway Scaffolding Xtreme Manufacturing

For more details about this event go to www.specmixbricklayer500.com.

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