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West Jordan Journal

West Jordan hosts competition to crown state's "best bricklayer"

Nov 08, 2021 03:53PM ● By Linda Steele

By Linda Steele | [email protected]

Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 (SMBL500) is a bricklaying competition to build excitement in the mason industry. 

The SMBL500 started in 2003. The Spec Mix VP Brian Carney, along with National Sales Manager Nick Blohowiak, are the masterminds of the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500. 

“The Mission has always been about workforce development, and if we sell a little extra mortar along the way, even better,” Spec Mix Marketing Manager Greg Hutchinson said.

Just this year starting in August 2021 Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 has done competitions around the country. In Utah the competition was held Oct. 1 at Interstate Brick in West Jordan. Scott Tuttle won the 2021 regional series as “Utah’s Best Bricklayer” by laying 640 bricks in one hour. He teamed up with his brother Brian Tuttle with Quick Trowell Masonry in Clearfield. Together they earned the title “Utah’s Best Bricklayer.” 

The Tuttle Brothers beat out five other local teams. This qualified them to compete in the biggest competition in masonry, Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 - SMBL500. They will compete in Las Vegas at the World of Concrete Expo next January. The competition will be held at the World of Concrete expo in Las Vegas. There are $125,000 in prizes. The prizes include a Ford F-250 4x4 Super Duty truck, Kubota RTV-X1140, Mulitquip Mortar Mixer, and other prizes, including IQ Power Tools, Stabila, Marshalltown, STIHL, Blaklader, Iron Age Footwear and Belden Brick. 

“The Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 is simple,” Spec Mix Marketing Manager Greg Hutchinson said. “You lay as many bricks as you can in an hour. When the competition first started masons would show up and lay 1,000 bricks in an hour. That's very impressive, but VP Brian Carney and Sales Manager Nick Blohowiak started working on a strict set of rules that would lower the brick total but would showcase the talent of the best bricklayers. Once the hour of bricklaying is complete, the judges will look at the workmanship and check for errors. For each error found a certain number of bricks will be deducted from the total brick count according to the rules. After a five-minute resting period, masons will get 20 minutes to brush up their bricks, fill in any gaps and make it clean.” 

Hutchinson loves what he does.

“This is really an easy competition to get excited about,” he said. “I should know; I started at Spec Mix four years ago, and I knew nothing about masonry. Now I can speak the lingo with the best of them, and I get to help put hard working masons in the spotlight. Basically, this is the coolest job ever.” 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of SMLB500. Every year there are 16 to 24 events across North America, which help determine the world champion who laid the most bricks with the least number of deductions. There is Spec Mix Top Craftsman, which wins the most marketable wall. The world champion wins a new Ford F250 4x4 Truck, and the Spec Mix Top Craftsman wins a new Kubota RTV-X1140. There are a lot of other prizes too. 

The World Championship is live-streamed from the World of Concrete Expo in Las Vegas, there is a crowd of approximately 6,000. The online audience has helped the competition grow with over 2 million viewers on social media last year. 

Before COVID Spec Mix invited two international competitors to compete. They have had teams from the UK and Australia come and compete. These countries are so surprised at how big the competition is and how laborious it is to lay brick in an hour. 

Spec Mix has caught the eye of Phil Keoghan, the host of the hit CBS show “Tough As Nails.” Other media coverage such as CBS New York, “Las Vegas Review Journal,” News 3 Las Vegas, Fox 5 Las Vegas and many more. 

Jr. Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 started three years ago. It is designed to be an abbreviated version of the journeyman competitions. The competition has grown so big that in North Carolina, they have close to 1,000 students from masonry programs that come out to cheer their classmates while they participate in a great Masonry Education Day. This is a great success story they hope to go across every regional event they operate. 

On Oct. 12, in Dallas, Texas, Spec Mix raised $$60,337 through its “Bricks, Blocks and Bags for Bikes.” charity auction. The money raised was used to purchase 1,206 bicycles for children in the Dallas–Ft. Worth community and donated to WFAA - Santa’s Helpers. This auction was announced just following the Spec Mix Jr. Bricklayer 500 competition at Best Block in Dallas.

Spec Mix has a lot of passion and an aggressive team that works hard to achieve its mission. It aims high to deliver the highest-quality products and solutions to the construction industry. Spec Mix takes pride in being good listeners to help select the best product for jobsite productivity. 

Whenever there is a need in the construction industry, Spec Mix is the first to accept the call of action. They collaborate with engineers, architects and contractors of all types to create project solutions. 

There are over 40 production facilities in the U.S. and Canada, and 80-plus market representatives that are backed up by their technical department support specialists. Spec Mix is highly motivated to make sure the job is done right with the best materials, productivity and safety.