While most come to the annual World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas Jan 17-20 to see the latest concrete equipment and products, more than a few of the over 50,000 attendees are there for the spirit of competition.
Cheering crowds filled the stands at the annual Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 World Championship, held Jan 18 just across the street from the busy equipment displays of World of Concrete.
Marking its 15th year, the trade-skills showcase saw two dozen mason-and-tender teams race to build the tallest 26-ft, 8-in.-long double-wythe brick wall they can in an hour. With a 2017 Ford F250 XLT truck and $15,000 in cash and prizes on the line, crews raced to build tall while still maintaining quality.
It was a tight race, but bricklayer Matt Cash and tender Chet Huntley of Huntley Bros. Co., Mint Hill, N.C., took the prize with a 716-brick wall. His second time at the finals, Cash told the crowd that his first win was a huge relief. “Finally got that monkey off my back,” he said.
In a first for the Bricklayer 500, both members of the winning team took first place in their respective categories. A few hours Cash won World’s Best Bricklayer, his tender Huntley had won first place in Spec Mix’s World’s Toughest Tender, where all 24 masons raced to stage the materials for the bricklayer competition. “I was the ‘Toughest Tender’ at 45. It was a great feeling,” Huntley said after the competition.