MASONRY MADNESS® 2019: The Best Of The Best

MASONRY MADNESS® is always a highlight of the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas. This year, see a collection of the most exciting masonry competitions in the world. Come spend the day out in the Bronze Lot’s competition area, and witness all the excitement in one day and in one place.  

Four intense brick and block battles take place one after the other. The world’s best bricklayers, blocklayers, mason apprentices, and tenders are set to battle it out to prove who is at the top of their game. You won’t want to miss seeing these highly-skilled craftsmen compete for the largest value of cash and prizes for any construction industry event in the world! 

MCAA MASONRY SKILLS CHALLENGE 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM 

Las Vegas Convention Center, Bronze Lot 

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. The exciting competition spotlights our industry’s finest young masons and focuses attention on careers in the masonry industry. 

Contestants are divided by experience level, ‘First Years’ who are just entering the trade through ‘Third Years’ who are just about to enter the workforce as journeymen. Each level is given a project to build appropriate to their know-how. 

The catch? The projects are a complete surprise! 

Contestants must build their project without ever having seen the drawings. They haven’t been able to practice, and they can’t consult their instructor, employer or anyone else during the competition. They have three hours to complete their projects with the given materials. 

Awards are presented to the top three apprentices in each skill level. 

The next competition takes place Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 9:00 AM. 

How It’s Judged 

The Mason Contractors Association of America provides judges for the competition. Contestants must be able to demonstrate skills appropriate for the level in which they are competing. 

Each contestant’s project must be completed within the three hour time allotment. No work may continue past three-hour time limit, and no continuances will be granted for any reason. 

Each contestant must wear a “Masonry Skills Challenge” shirt, khaki work pants, work shoes or boots, and abide by proper safety methods, including wearing safety glasses or goggles when making cuts, during competition. 

No contestant is allowed to consult with anyone during competition, including instructors, other competitors, and judges. All the information needed to complete the project is provided within the project drawing. 

Each contestant will be judged on the following criteria for a total of 200 possible points: 

Plumb (0-30) 

Manipulation (0-20) 

Level (0-30) 

Tooling and neatness (0-10) 

Square and range (0-20) 

Full joints (0-20) 

Measurements (0-20) 

Aesthetics (0-10) 

Correct design (0-20) 

Production (0-20) 

Awards are presented to the top three apprentices in each skill level. 

Contestants 

FIRST YEAR 

JACOB MANGUS
BAC 4 IN/KY Apprenticeship Program
Merrillville, Ind.

MASON LOVELL
Lovell’s Masonry
Columbia, Tenn. 

GRANT HELMS
Helms Masonry, Inc.
Mt. Pleasant, N.C. 

TYLER ROCK
Marsa, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA

BRANDON OLSEN
Back Brook Masonry
Hillsborough Township, NJ 

RUBIN SALAS-PINON
Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council
Amherst, Ohio 

JACOB BROOKS
Sutter Masonry, Inc.
El Mirage, Ariz. 

RUDDY ALVAREZ
Trinity Constructors LLC
Fruitland Park, Fla. 

KEVIN RUIZ 

Grand Prairie High School Training Center 

Grand Prairie, Texas 

JARED WILLIAMS
Mastership Construction
Libertyville, Ill. 

SECOND YEAR 

DONALD STUDEBAKER
BAC 4 IN/KY Apprenticeship Program
Merrillville, Ind. 

JOSEPH HITE
Harris Masonry, Inc.
Pittsburgh, PA

JAKE FREEMAN
Adams Masonry, Inc.
Chattanooga, Tenn. 

ADRIAN KAMINSKI
Dan LePore + Sons
Conshohocken, Pa. 

MITCH KITTINGER
Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council
Amherst, Ohio 

JESUS RUIZ
Hobbs Masonry Construction LLC
Chandler, Ariz 

JAMISON HUNTLEY
Huntley Brothers Co., Inc.
Monroe, N.C. 

DAVID SANDOVAL
Mike Cachey Construction
Orland Park, Ill. 

OTIS MIZES
S.S. Smith & Sons Masonry, Inc.
Corpus Christi, Texas 

THIRD YEAR 

TYLER HACK
BAC 4 IN/KY Apprenticeship Program
Merrillville, Ind. 

FRANCISCO CHAVEZ-TORRES
Nickolas Group
Las Vegas, NV

MICHAEL FASULO
BJCC, Inc.
Kinnelon, N.J. 

MAX BERRY
DS Masonry, Inc.
Pueblo, Colo. 

JONATHAN WEININGER
Ohio-Kentucky Administrative District Council
Amherst, Ohio 

RAMON VARGAS
G & G Enterprises
Glendale, Ariz. 

JOSUE SOSA
Ranch Masonry, Inc.
Houston 

JOSEPH BLANTON
WASCO, Inc.
Knoxville, Tenn. 

MIKE PIGNATO
Pignato Masonry, Inc.
Mokena, Ill. 

SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® 

Wednesday, January 23 ,2019 

10:45 AM – 11:15 AM  

Las Vegas Convention Center, Bronze Lot 

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 by hand 2,000 pounds of block, 3,000 pounds of brick and shoveled 3,000 pounds of mortar. 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. 

Tenders come in all shapes and sizes. Often the tender is a family member, personal friend, or close co-worker. And the role of tender is not gender-specific. At the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 National, Lynette Darby, of Gainesville, Florida, was the first female mason tender to compete on a winning team at a World Championship. And her hard work paid off as her team placed first in the bricklaying event. In 2014, tender Heidi Albea, aided her father, mason Jerry Goodman, to a double win of Champion and SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN. 

How It’s Judged 

The 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 properly in the least amount of time safely. 

During the Competition, the competitors’ work methods are 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.  

MCAA’s Fastest Trowel OnThe Block 

Wednesday, January 23 2019 

11:30 AM – 11:50 AM  

Las Vegas Convention Center, Bronze Lot 

The Fastest Trowel on the Block Competition, hosted by the Mason Contractors Association of America, is a showcase of industry craftsmanship and a testament of both the speed and skill of our industry’s workforce. Only those journeymen masons who have the skill, confidence and courage to face-off with the industry’s best are invited to compete. This is a contest that also proves how important teamwork is in accomplishing a final product. 

The competition will pit journeyman masons, accompanied by their favorite tender, against one another in a show of both speed and craftsmanship. Each contestant’s goal is 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. Contestants must have a high degree of workmanship using normal masonry practices and hand tools. 

The contest promotes quality training and pride in workmanship among journeymen and contractors, as well as promoting the craftsmanship, speed and versatility of masonry systems and the masonry workforce. This contest also rewards and highlights the country’s best mason journeymen for their hard work and dedication to the trade. 

How It’s Judged 

The contest will be judged by volunteer judges. Judges are not eligible to judge if they have a contestant competing from their company. Contestants are scored out of 100 points, broken down as follows: 

  • Production (30 points) 
  • True and Workmanship (10 points) 
  • Plumb (15 points) 
  • Level (15 points) 
  • Story (15 points) 
  • Voids (15 points) 

A complete list of judging criteria has been supplied to each contestant. Additional copies are available upon request. 

True and Workmanship (10 points)
This category is subjectively rated by one team of judges. Walls will be rated by assessing bond accuracy or alignment, coursing appearance, out of plane or tipped block and bows, dips, and lumps, along with joints that are not cut flush, mortar stains and smears, etc. Only the working face will be judged. Each judge will award the best wall in the competition 10 points and all other walls a portion of 10 points (ranging from 0-9) depending on the appearance of each wall compared to the best wall. 

Plumb (15 points)
Contestant’s level will be used for judging. Vertical plumb will be measured on both ends, jambs, and in the center only. The number of 1/8″ deviations in excess of 1/8″ (1/8″ at each location is allowed) will be deducted. 

Level (15 points)
Contestant’s 4′ level will be used for judging. The top course of the wall at three locations, both ends and in the middle will be judged. The single point of greatest deviation in each of the three sections will be recorded. The number of 1/8″ deviations in excess of 1/8″ (1/8″ at each location is allowed) will be deducted. 

Story (15 points)
The contestant’s tape measure will be used for judging. Contestants are to place trig at top block on the base course and top of block on the third competition course. Story height at both ends of the wall will be measured. Four measurements will be taken: third course trig to the top of the top course block and base trig to third course trig at each end of the wall. The number of 1/8″ deviations in excess of 1/8″ (1/8″ at each location is allowed) will be deducted. 

Voids (15 points)
Only one side of the wall will be judged – determined by a coin toss following the block-laying portion of the competition. Voids will be measured and rounded up to whole inch. Points for each 1″ will be deducted. A void is defined by any opening in a head or bed joint. Also, mortar that did not squeeze to the plane of the face shell is also considered a void. A void breaks the visual continuity of the mortar joint. 

Voids Points 
15 
14 
13 
12 
11 
10 10 
12 
14 
16 
18 
20 
22 
24 
25 
26 

Production (30 points)
The number of block laid by each contestant will be counted. The contestant that lays the most block will receive 30 points. The other contestants will have 1 point deducted from the 30 points for block less they lay than contestant that lays the most block. 

Judging could take up to 50 minutes. 

Upon the return of MCAA staff to headquarters, contestants will be mailed a copy of their scorecard. 

Contestants 

URIEL MEDRANO
G&G Enterprises
Buckeye, Ariz.
Tender: Jose Manuel Varela 

GUSTAVO SORIANO
Rentfrow Masonry
Fairland, Okla.
Tender: Daniel Joye 

ROBERTO CIMENTAL
Arizona State Masonry
Gilbert, Ariz.
Tender: Gerardo Vazquez 

MIKE FULLER
Keystone Masonry, Inc.
Yelm, Wash.
Tender: Thea Phoun 

SHANE RIFF
Fairweather Masonry
Bellevue, Wash.
Tender: Paul Davidson 

JOSE SOTO
Sargon Masonry Construction
Phoenix, Ariz.
Tender: Tomas Quinonez 

PAUL CANTARELLA
C & S Co., Inc.
Pittsfield, Mass.
Tender: Luke Williams 

JOSEPH EUFRANCIO
Fairweather Masonry
Bellevue, Wash.
Tender: John Urban 

MARK FERRERA
Williams and Sons, Masonry, Inc.
El Cajon, Calif.
Tender: Larry Ruiz 

HOWARD COLE
NuWay, Inc.
Riverside, Calif.
Tender: Martin Avendano 

CHRIS CARLTON
Capital Concrete and Masonry
St. Augustine, Fla.
Tender: Robert Carlton 

MANUEL MARTINEZ
Sargon Masonry Construction
Phoenix, Ariz.
Tender: Tomas Gerardo 

NOE MARTINEZ
Curran Masonry Corporation
Chandler, Ariz.
Tender: David Puga 

GERARDO PATLAN
Adams Fence LLC
Phoenix
Tender: Roberto Patlan 

REED OLLIS
McGree Brothers Company, Inc.
Monroe, N.C.
Tender: Marty Munn 

SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® 

Wednesday, January 23 2019 

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM 

Las Vegas Convention Center, Bronze Lot 

Who is the world’s best bricklayer? The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® competition at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas will answer the question. The kickoff takes place on Wednesday, January 24th at 12:00 PM in the Bronze Lot—the competition moved from the Convention Center’s Gold Lot—where WOC attendees are invited to the Masonry Madness Arena to witness an amazing display of skill, speed and stamina. The 60-minute competition consists of 1 mason and 1 mason tender working together to build a 26 ft. 8 in., double-wythe brick wall as high as possible under strict quality rules. The brick counts of the teams can be adjusted down by the judges for violations of those rules.  

Judged by over 20 highly qualified industry experts, the award places are based on the highest brick counts meeting the quality standards and competition rules. The judges will check each mason’s wall for workmanship and production to determine who will make it to the winner’s circle.  

For those who don’t make the journey to Las Vegas, the event is also streamed LIVE on January 23rdat www.specmixbricklayer500.com. One thing is for certain, to see an intense competition of masonry’s top mudslingers, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to see who will be crowned “World’s Best Bricklayer!” 

Competitors 

David Chavez  
Defending World Champion 

Leif Reints  
Defending SPEC MIX Top Craftsman 

Adam White  
Florida  

Cole Stamper 
Ohio  

Scott Tuttle
Utah  

John Kerr 
British Columbia 

Marty Marrs 
Illinois Regional 

Mario Alves 
Ontario 

Juan Cabral 
Colorado 

Jose Perez 
Louisiana 

J.T. Payne 
Missouri 

David Wernette 
Washington 

Darian Douthit 
Oklahoma 

Vince Polverini 
Pennsylvania 

Steve Thibault 
Quebec 

Mike Schlund 
Wisconsin 

Robert Miller 
California 

James Currier 
Virginia  

Dave Sontag 
Alberta 

Jose Mario Landeros 
North Texas 

Grayson McGee 
Carolina 

Emilio Dibra 
Tennessee 

Mark Wells Sr. 
Northeast 

Jesus Perez 
South Texas 

Fred Campbell 
East Tennessee 

Matt Jones 
Arizona 

Damian Amuso 
Australia 

Words: MASONRY Magazine, SPEC MIX
Photos: BruceStarrenburg, MCAA, MASONRY Magazine