Bricklayer David Chavez (left) and his mason tender, Miguel Contreras (right), celebrate winning the 2018 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship
It was his third time qualifying for the championship event in Las Vegas (Chavez won second place in 2017). With the help of his mason tender, Miguel Contreras, Chavez delivered his best performance in an arena packed with thousands of spectators.
When asked about winning the event, Chavez said, “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.”
Cory Belonzi (right) with Ford Commercial Vehicles hands over the keys to a 2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty Truck to World Champion David Chavez (middle) as he holds up the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship ceremonial trophy
Of the 28 bricklayers and mason tender teams that competed for the event’s $125,000 purse, bricklayer Leif Reints of Wyandotte, OK claimed the next highest ranking title, SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN®. Reints claimed a 2018 John Deere Gator™ XUV 835 and another $10,000 in cash and prizes for his efforts. Reints (37) laid 625 brick without any craftsmanship deductions in which a 30 judge panel agreed was the “most sellable” wall. No stranger to the event, it was Reints’ sixth World Championship appearance. Reints previously claimed the World Champion title in 2012.
SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® winner Leif Reints (middle) and his mason tender Michael Weisinger (left) pose with emcee Jim O’Connor of the Greater Chicago Mason Contractor Association
Standing beside Chavez and Reints in the winners’ circle, Second Place honors went to Brian Tuttle of Quik Trowell Masonry in Clearfield, UT. A mason for 23 years, Brian laid 689 brick to win $4,000 and over $1,500 in sponsor prizes. His mason tender was his brother; best friend and business partner Scott Tuttle, who as a bricklayer was the 2016 Champion and 2012 TOP CRAFTSMAN winner. Considered a veteran of the competition, over the past 16 years Brian competed 15 times; 9 times as a bricklayer and 6 times as a mason tender, an attendance record that has never been challenged.
Brian Tuttle (middle) won second place with 689 brick laid. David’s mason tender and brother, Scott Tuttle (left) a former Spec Mix Bricklayer 500® World Champion
Rounding out the pool of winners was the 2017 defending champion Matt Cash of Huntley Brothers Company in Mint Hill, NC. With a large crew of family and friends rooting him on, Cash (35) laid 658 brick to claim Third Place and a check for $3,000 plus $1,500 in prizes.
2017 World Champion, Matt Cash (middle), took third place with 658 brick laid. His mason tender Chet Huntley (left) was also returning to defend his Toughest Tender® title from 2017
Kicking off the bricklaying action was the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® competition. Twenty-eight mason tenders raced to stage all the materials used during the bricklaying event. Nick Miller with Brock Construction in Ft. Atkinson, WI was named TOUGHEST TENDER, and collected a check for $2,500 and $1,500 in prizes. Miller recorded the second-best-ever time of 15 minutes flat (WR – 11 minutes 7 second, set in 2005). Established to show the value a mason tender brings to a mason, it’s a crowd favorite that tests the speed, endurance and accuracy of a skilled laborer.
Nicholas Miller won the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® award a time of 15:00:44. Nicholas was the mason tender for bricklayer Jake Brock
Commonly referred to as the “Super Bowl of Masonry,” the bricklaying battle took place on Wednesday, January 24th in the heart of the Masonry Madness® Day arena at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas. Before a bricklayer is eligible to compete in the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship, each competitor must qualify by winning their Regional Series competition. This earns them a shot at taking down the returning Champion or SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® title holders. This year’s event showcased the skills of its first female contestant, Sheree Canham, an accomplished mason who made the journey with her family from New Berimma, NSW Australia. The second international competitor who crossed the pond was Luke Lovegrove of Long Sutton, Lincolnshire England. Both stated they hope to return to make a run at the title.
The 2018 SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship arena located in the Bronze Lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center
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.