The masonry industry’s best masons, tenders, and apprentices returned to World of Concrete for a day of competition that’s become known as Masonry Madness. At the center of the excitement are three high-energy tests of skill: the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 World Championship, and Mason Contractors Association of America’s Fastest Trowel on the Block and Masonry Skills Challenge.
As the competitions have grown in size and reputation, sponsors have added demonstrations and activities showcasing advancements in the industry, including workforce development. “The masonry industry has significantly evolved over the past 5-10 years,” said Brian Carney, vice president of Spec Mix Inc., “which makes it more attractive than ever, as we’re recruiting and training a much-needed workforce.”
SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 World Championship
“Let’s lay some brick, boys!” This announcement kicked off an intense hour of competition for 23 of the masonry industry’s most skilled craftsmen.
Each year, the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 competition attracts masons to World of Concrete, to try their hand at winning the title of World’s Best Bricklayer. The 14th annual competition drew an estimated 4,000 spectators, as well as thousands more who tuned into the live webcast.
This year’s competitors included several returning champs, three of which reclaimed spots in the winners’ circle. The previous year’s Champion and Top Craftsman are automatically eligible to compete in the World Championship event; other masons must earn a spot by winning regional qualifying competitions.
Each two-man team builds a 26-foot 8-inch, double-wythe brick wall in 60 minutes, while maintaining strict quality standards. A team of 24 industry experts judges the masons’ work and selects winners based on brick count, quality, and adherence to competition rules.
After the dust settled, Scott Tuttle and mason tender Brian Tuttle won First Place, with a wall of 775 brick. The brothers have competed in a record-setting 13 Bricklayer 500 competitions, and each has earned top honors. Scott was named Top Craftsman in 2012 and Brian earned the Toughest Tender title in 2015.
The top mason did not take the challenge lightly. Scott Tuttle built five practice walls before the event. “I’d put them up, then I’d take them back down and put them up again,” he said.
Two-time Bricklayer 500 champ and former Top Craftsman winner, Garrett Hood, came in second this year by laying 716 brick. Hood and mason tender Ed Huntley are both with Huntley Brothers Co. Inc. in Monroe, N.C.
Darian Douthit and mason tender Andy Zepeda, from Providence Masonry in Miami, Okla., won second place with 687 brick. Douthit was also named Top Craftsman, an award for the “most sellable” wall meeting a required 500 brick count.
The Toughest Tender award went to Tony Shelton, with Creative Masonry in Limestone, Tenn. He completed the jobsite setup in 15 minutes, 22 seconds. Mason tenders must haul brick, concrete block, equipment, and materials to the competition site and arrange each station according to specific instructions as quickly as possible.
Read more about the 2016 Bricklayer 500 winners.
Next page: MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block & MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge