The most heart-pounding series of events during the annual World of Concrete/World of Masonry, MASONRY MADNESS® day takes attendees by storm with its fast-paced displays of skill and craftsmanship. With everyone from apprentices showing off their newly-learned skills to seasoned masons and tenders bringing their respective A-games, the four competitions pit the best of the best against one another to bring out each year’s Champions!
MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge

About the Competition: The Masonry Skills Challenge is hosted annually by the MCAA as part of MASONRY MADNESS® during the MCAA Convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas. This exciting competition highlights our industry’s finest young masons and focuses attention on careers in the masonry industry.

The nineteenth annual MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge, held January 24, 2018 showed off the best apprentices our industry has to offer.

The Masonry Skills Challenge is a competition of masonry apprentices in first, second and third year skill levels. The contest is a showcase for skills training in the masonry industry, challenging winning apprentices from regional U.S. and foreign competitions to determine the top masonry apprentice at each level.

Each contestant was presented with a project drawing appropriate to their skill level just moments before the competition began. Contestants had only three hours to construct the project based on the materials provided. The final projects looked great; the apprentices should be very proud of their three hours of hard work. The judges were impressed with the quality of the construction, and had the tough decision of choosing the winners.

The Mason Contractors Association of America would like to thank the judges from across the country for donating their time and expertise:

  • Al Herndon, Florida Masonry Apprentice and Educational Foundation; Green Cove Springs, Fla.
  • Kenny Foeste, Foeste Masonry; Cape Girardeau, Mo.
  • Brandon Hartsell, Gates Construction Company, Inc.; Mooresville, N.C.
  • Gregory Holland, Masonry Specialty Contractors, Inc.; Nashville
  • Curtis Hoover, Anne Arundle County Public Schools; Severn, Md.
  • James Hoskinson, Lang Masonry & Restoration Contractors; Waterford, Ohio
  • Daniel Hurley, Fraco USA; Baltimore, Md.
  • John Jacob, J. Construction Co. Inc.; Cleves, Ohio
  • Dave Jaykins, Sargon Masonry Construction; Phoenix
  • Eugene Johnson, Lake Marion High School/Technology Center; Santee, S.C.
  • Dennis Knowlton, Knowlton & Sons Masonry Construction; Clifford, Pa.
  • Dan Kwiatkowski, Kwiatkowski Masonry, Inc.; Crown Point, Ind.
  • Patrick Martin, CTE Masonry Instructor, CDCR; Jamestown, Calif.
  • Milton McGinnis, Vallejo Masonry; Vallejo, Calif.
  • Gary Porter, Masonry Advisory Council; Park Ridge, Ill.
  • Lorenzo Rodriguez, SJR Masonry & Construction; McKinleyville, Calif.
  • Brian Smith, John J. Smith Masonry Co.; St. Louis
  • Paula Wight, Bon Tool Co.; Gibsonia, Pa.
  • Rafael Villalobos, SJR Masonry & Construction; McKinleyville, Calif.

The MCAA would also like to thank the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), the International Masonry Institute (IMI), the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), and Stabila for sponsoring the MCAA’s Masonry Skills Challenge, and give a special thank you to the sponsors and service/material donors for their contributions including:

Competition Sponsors

  • National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA)
  • Stabila

Contributors

  • AZ Best Block
  • GATORBACK
  • QUIKRETE
  • SPEC MIX

Prize Donations

  • The Belden Brick Company
  • GATORBACK,
  • GROUT GRUNT
  • Iron Age Footwear
  • JagClamp
  • Marshalltown Company
  • SPEC MIX
  • Stabila

PRIZES

All winners received trophies, cash prizes, Marshalltown Company tool bags and tools, and Belden Brick tool bags and tools. First place winners also received engraved trowels from Marshalltown Company and boots from Iron Age Footwear. All contestants received a level from competition sponsor Stabila, a GROUT GRUNT masonry scoop, JagClamps, hats from Bon Tool, and additional prizes.

WINNERS

FIRST YEAR APPRENTICES

First Place

Jamison Huntley
Huntley Brothers Company, Inc.
Mint Hill, N.C.

Second Place

Mitch Kittinger
Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council
Amherst, Ohio

Third Place

Michael Patterson
Larson + Danielson
La Porte, Ind.

SECOND YEAR APPRENTICES

First Place

Jonathan Weininger
Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council
Amherst, Ohio

Second Place

Josh Morris
AAA Masonry
Jefferson City, Mo.

Third Place

Tyler Hack
Weigand Construction
Fort Wayne, Ind.

THIRD YEAR APPRENTICES

First Place

Austin McEwen
Adams Masonry, Inc.
Chattanooga, Tenn.

 

Second Place

Jaris McClurg
WASCO, Inc.
Knoxville, Tenn.

Third Place

Charlie Coburn
Schiffer Mason Contractors
Holt, Mich.

The 2019 MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge will be held Wednesday, January 23, 2019 during the MCAA Convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas.

For more information about the competition, please visit www.masonryskillschallenge.com.

The SPEC MIX Toughest Tender®

 

About the Competition: Strong teamwork is an essential part of every project, and this is true in the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® competitions. Tenders are more than helpers, they are coaches, advisors and scouts. Teamwork and coordination between the mason’s tender and the competing mason for set-up strategy is critical for success. These tenders keep the brick and mortar coming to their masons.

By the end of the competition, each mason tender has typically moved 2,000 pounds of block, 3,000 pounds of brick and shoveled 3,000 pounds of mortar all by hand. From the beginning, organizers wanted the important contribution mason tenders make to the masonry team to be acknowledged. The SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER competition is a preliminary event to the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship Competition. The SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER is a challenge in which the competitors demonstrate the jobsite skills of organization, safety, and hustle.

Accordingly, the event has its own set of rules. The concept is this: materials used in the bricklaying competition are set near each stall, as if they had just been unloaded from a delivery truck. Contestants are responsible for moving these supplies into the stall so that the layout configuration of the work area is identical to the provided diagram and demonstration stall. Tenders race the clock to set up this predefined work area for the mason. Competitors start simultaneously from their appropriate staging areas. Their work is independently timed from the starting signal until all materials and equipment have been appropriately staged and the competitors return to the staging area adjacent to their competition stall. The winning tender is the contestant who has set up the work area safely and properly in the least amount of time.

During the Competition, the competitors’ work methods are kept as close as possible to an actual jobsite situation. While the speed and accuracy of setup in the work area will determine the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER winner, safe-working procedures are of the utmost importance. Judges monitor each contestant and can disqualify someone for an unsafe act.

Care for quality is also an important consideration. Tenders often use brick tongs for the placement of brick stacks. Since chipped bricks are not allowed in the wall, tenders must take care in the brick placement and inspection.

Tenders have another role in ensuring the bricklaying competition is safe. Before the start of the competition, the tender must restore all materials originally in the stall to their original position as accurately as possible with the exception of the material used in the construction of the starter courses. Once the work area is set up and the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER competition is complete, there is no deviation to the configuration of the work area until the start of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500.

SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER CASH AND PRIZES

  • $2,500 check & SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® Trophy from SPEC MIX
  • STIHL $700 Product Certificate
  • iQ POWER TOOLS $200 iQ gift pack, jacket, and 3 saw blades
  • BLAKLADER $500 Gift Certificate
  • MARSHALLTOWN loaded SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® tool bag

WINNER

Nicholas Miller
Brock Construction
Ft. Atkinson, WI
Time: 15:00:44

Fastest Trowel on the Block

 

About The Competition: The MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block is hosted annually by the MCAA as part of MASONRY MADNESS® during the MCAA Convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas. The competition is a showcase of industry craftsmanship and a testament of both the speed and skill of our industry’s workforce.

The annual MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block competition, held January 24, 2018 during MASONRY MADNESS® and the MCAA Convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas, drew a record crowd to catch the fastest twenty minutes in masonry and see who would win the $8,000 grand prize.

The contest pits journeyman masons, accompanied by their favorite tender, against one another in a show of speed. Each contestant’s goal was to complete as much of a 30-foot long wall as possible, using 8”x8”x16” CMU and the provided mortar in a twenty-minute heat. But speed alone won’t net the $8,000 check for first place. Contestants were also judged on craftsmanship, and use of normal masonry practices and hand tools.

Each mason worked quickly to build a quality wall, while the crowd cheered them on throughout the twenty-minute competition. After the judges completed their scoring, the results were announced.

The MCAA would like to thank the judges from across the country for donating their time and expertise:

  • Steven Fechino, Mortar Net Solutions; Burns Harbor, Ind.
  • Greg Althammer, Airplaco; Cincinnati
  • Greg Avery, SS Smith & Son’s Masonry; Corpus Christi, Texas
  • John Chrysler, Masonry Institute of America; Torrance, Calif.
  • Robert Collins, BAC Local 4 CA/Brick Mason’s Apprenticeship; Arcadia, Calif.
  • Tim Daniel, Airplaco; Cincinnati
  • Nick Gonzales, Sunnyside Masonry, LLC; Peoria, Ariz.
  • Bill Greco, T. Hansen Construction; Papillion, Neb.
  • Daniel Hiltebeitel; Honey Brook, Pa.
  • Robert Jacabacci, A.I. Prince Technical High School; Hartford, Conn.
  • Jake Johnson, Harold F. Johnson Masonry, Inc.; Cheyenne, Wy.
  • Dean Lang, Lang Masonry and Restoration Contractors; Waterford, Ohio
  • Armand Rainville, Fraco Products Ltd.; St. Mathias-Sur-Richelien, QC, Canada
  • Phillip Samblanet, The Masonry Society; Longmont, Colo.
  • Melvin Schwendeman, Lang Masonry and Restoration Contractors; Waterford, Ohio
  • John Smith, John J. Smith Masonry Co.; St. Louis
  • Tom Vacala, Restore Masonry, LLC; Des Plaines, Ill.
  • Terry Watts, True Bond Masonry, LLC; Doyline, La.
  • Jason Young, Ollier Masonry, Inc.; Batesville, Ind.

The MCAA would also like to thank the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) and Stabila for sponsoring the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block competition, and give a special thank you to the sponsors and service/material donors for their contributions including:

COMPETITION SPONSORS

  • National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA)
  • Stabila

Contributors

  • AZ Best Block
  • GATORBACK
  • QUIKRETE
  • SPEC MIX

Prize donations

  • The Belden Brick Company
  • GATORBACK
  • GROUT GRUNT
  • Iron Age Footwear
  • JagClamp
  • Marshalltown Company
  • SPEC MIX
  • Stabila

PRIZES

Winners were presented with trophies, plus first place took home $8,000, a special trophy from Marshalltown, boots from Iron Age Footwear, and a 10-pack of mortar boards from GATORBACK; second place received $2,500; and $1,500 was awarded to third place. Cash prizes were provided by SPEC MIX All winners received a Marshalltown tool bag and tools, a Belden Brick tool bag and tools, and additional prizes. All contestants received a level from competition sponsor Stabila, JagClamps, a Marshalltown tool bag, and a GROUT GRUNT masonry scoop.

WINNERS

First Place

Jose Soto
Sargon Masonry
Phoenix, AZ

Tender: Tomas Quinonez
Block Count: 126

Second Place

Gerardo Patlan
Fyffe Masonry & Plastering, Inc.
Glendale, AZ

Tender: Roberto Patlan
Block Count: 125

 Third Place

Noe Martinez
Stone Cold Masonry
Phoenix, AZ

Tender: Heriberto Estrada
Block Count: 123

The 2019 MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block will be held Wednesday, January 23, 2019 during the MCAA Convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas.

For more information about the competition and to register, please visit www.fastesttrowel.com. 

SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500® World Championship

 

About The Competition: The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® initiative was created in 2003 to promote masonry construction while accentuating the craftsmanship, pride and passion that masons dedicate to their work. It’s also a means for SPEC MIX®, its sponsors and supporters, to give back to the masonry trade and strengthen its future. Over the years the event has evolved into an industry movement that is used as a tool for recruiting skilled labor and workforce development programs. The fierce competition, quality of craftsmanship, and the growing annual crowds, is evidence that the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® is uniting the industry and infusing energy into a craft that commands respect and admiration. To encourage and reward the spirited masons who push their capabilities to the edge, today the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® offers what is considered the greatest total prize purse valued at over $125,000, including a new FORD F250 XLT 4×4, a John Deere Gator Crossover Utility Vehicle and lots of cash and prizes.

The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 is a unique competition. By mixing masonry skills with the world of sports, the excitement generates a venue that draws the attention of the worldwide media. Over 16 years, literally millions of people have seen news reports and YOUTUBE videos, read press articles, and heard radio interviews and broadcasts of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500. The competition has been featured on national network television, cable television, and social media sites, and has been the subject of numerous blogs regarding what makes a great bricklaying competition.

Like all sports, the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 competition is well defined by a clear set of rules. This document governs the design and as-built quality of the wall. Brick count deductions are made for rule infractions. In simple terms, the competition lasts 60 minutes, in which time contestants build a 26 ft. 8 in., double-wythe brick wall as high as possible. There is a short rest period followed by a short cleaning period, and then the walls are judged. 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 prize, the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN®, is judged the “most sellable wall.”

The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 program was created to give back to the trade of masonry in an exciting way that would be noticed not only by the construction trade but the public. Those involved in the education, promoting and selling the trade of masonry are keenly aware of the challenges facing our industry.

Event sponsors: The 2018 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship appreciates the support of its outstanding sponsors who help promote the craftsmanship of masons and the masonry construction industry.

PLATINUM LEVEL

  • SPEC MIX®
  • QUIKRETE® Companies
  • Ford Commercial Vehicles
  • Hydro Mobile
  • John Deere
  • Hohmann & Barnard, Inc.
  • The Belden Brick Company
  • Multiquip, Inc.
  • STABILA

GOLD LEVEL

  • Blaklader
  • iQ Power Tools
  • MARSHALLTOWN
  • MCAA
  • Prism Pigments
  • STIHL Inc.
  • JAGClamp

CONTRIBUTOR LEVEL

  • AZ Best Block
  • Easy-Spred®
  • GATORBACK®
  • Jackson & Razor Back Tools
  • Safway® Scaffold
  • Xtreme Manufacturing

SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 FIRST PLACE CASH & PRIZES

  • 2018 Ford F-250 4×4 XLT Super Duty Truck
  • $5,000 check from SPEC MIX®
  • Essick EM120YD 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 Ceremonial Trophy Trowel & loaded SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® tool bag
  • GATORBACK Mortarboards – 10 pack
  • SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Champion Jacket & 1st Place Trophy from SPEC MIX

SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN CASH & PRIZES

  • $5,000 Check and SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® Trophy from SPEC MIX
  • John Deere Gator™ XUV835 Crossover Utility Vehicle
  • STIHL TSA 230 battery-powered cut-off machine, 9” abrasive wheel, AP 300 battery, AL 500 high-speed charger
  • iQ POWER TOOLS iQPC912 and 3 saw blades
  • BLAKLADER $1000 gift certificate
  • STABILA Custom Trophy 24” level and plaque
  • MARSHALLTOWN Ceremonial trophy trowel & loaded SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® tool bag
  • GATORBACK Mortarboards – 10 pack

SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 SECOND PLACE CASH & PRIZES

  • $4,000 Check & 2nd Place trophy from SPEC MIX®
  • STIHL TSA 230 battery-powered cut-off machine, 9” wheel, AP 300 battery, AL 500 high-speed charger
  • iQ POWER TOOLS $200 iQ gift pack and jacket
  • BLAKLADER $500 gift certificate
  • STABILA Custom Trophy 24” level and plaque
  • MARSHALLTOWN loaded SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® tool bag
  • GATORBACK Mortarboards – 10 pack

SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 THIRD PLACE CASH & PRIZES

  • $3,000 Check & 3rd Place trophy from SPEC MIX
  • STIHL $700 product certificate
  • iQ POWER TOOLS $200 iQ gift pack, jacket, and 3 saw blades
  • BLAKLADER $250 gift certificate
  • STABILA Custom Trophy 24” level and plaque
  • MARSHALLTOWN loaded SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® tool bag.
  • GATORBACK Mortarboards – 10 pack

SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 FIRST PLACE

David Chavez
Ranch Masonry
Houston, TX
Mason Tender: Miguel Contreras
Brick Placed: 698 (no deductions)

FLYOUT QUOTE OPTION: “It has been a dream come true because the first time I saw the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 back in 2013 it seemed like an amazing event that I would like to participate in and win one day. I finally got my opportunity in 2015 but fell short, then again in 2017 I got so close when I placed second, and now finally my dream has come true.”

SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN
Leif Rents
Wyandotte, OK
Mason Tender: Michael Weisinger
Brick Placed: 625

SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 SECOND PLACE

Brian Tuttle
Quik Trowell Masonry
Clearfield, UT
Mason Tender: Scott Tuttle
Brick Placed: 689

SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 THIRD PLACE

Matt Cash
Huntley Brothers Company
Mint Hill, NC
Mason Tender: Chet Huntley
Brick Placed: 658

Words: MCAA, SPEC MIX®, and MASONRY Magazine
Photos: Bruce Starrenburg