Competition was fierce as participants in Wednesday’s Masonry Madness challenges contended for cash prizes and the chance of owning a brand-new Ford F-250 pickup truck.
The challenges included the 2022 SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 World Championship, MCAA’s Masonry Skills Challenge, the SPEC MIX Toughest Tender and MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block.
Masonry Madness, held at World of Concrete, is considered “the masonry industry’s biggest party,” according to the World of Concrete website.
Participants in the challenges include highly skilled masonry apprentices, mason tenders, block layers and world-class bricklayers.
Placing first in the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500, and winning the keys to a new Ford F250 4×4 XLT Super Duty Truck, was Cole Stamper of Mason Structure, from Lexington, KY, who was teamed with Jack Becker. Within an hour, Stamper and Becker laid 760 bricks.
Stamper and Becker beat out 22 other teams from across the country in the competition, which gives bricklayer and mason tender teams one hour to build a 26-foot wall.
Coming in second was Scott Tuttle and Brian Tuttle, from Quick Trowel Masonry.
The Tuttle's also won the "Top Craftsman" award. As a prize, they won a Kubota RTV-X1140 and a $5,000 cash prize. Additionally, they took home $4,000 for placing second in the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500.
Mario Hernandez, of Ranch Masonry in Houston, TX, laid 730 bricks and finished third in the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 challenge. For finishing third, Hernandez took home $3,000.
Hernandez was teamed up with Jorge Emmanuel Guerrero Cardona.
Haren McGee was declared as the SPEC MIX Toughest Tender, with a winning time of 17 minutes and 19 seconds, and took home a $2,500 cash prize. He was paired up with his brother, Wriston McGee, during the challenge.
The MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block was also highly competitive, with the three top finishers separated by only two points.
Finishing in third place was Lwdin Sandoval and Edgar Nieto, of Sargon Masonry Construction, who won $1,500. In second was Gerardo Patlan and Luis Costilla, of Adams Fence, LLC, who were awarded $2,500.
Coming in first were Roberto Cimental and Mark Diaz, of Arizona State Masonry, who took home an $8,000 cash prize.
Challenges also included the MCAA's Masonry Skills Challenge. Cash prizes of $750, $500 and $250 were awarded to first, second and third place finishers. Challenges were broken up for first year, second year and third year apprentices.
Contestants included William Evans, from Chicago, who competed in the Masonry Skills Challenge.
“For me it’s difficult just because in terms of practicing like they do, some of these guys have been doing it since high school or even just have a little bit more experience,” he said. “It’s not an excuse.”
Evans said his finished product in the competition looked exactly like the others, but he noticed the subtle differences.
“Just in terms of where the joints are in line with one another or just how out of plumb or out of level it may or may not be,” he said.