Whether it’s on job sites, in contractor offices, at material dealer yards, or during industry meetings, members of the masonry trade have caught the fire of the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® movement. For the last 16 years, much of the buzz in the masonry industry has centered around one simple question, who will be the next “World’s Best Bricklayer?” When SPEC MIX® launched the competition in 2003, the event started out as a straight forward bricklaying competition to limelight the speed and accuracy of masons. Today, however, it is a phenomenon that has taken the industry by storm in more ways than one.


Since its inception, the event has added a series of more than 24 regional qualifying competitions to create the roster for the World Championship Event. Winners of each qualifying competition are joined by international competitors along with the previous year’s Champion and SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® Winners. The competition has attracted additional sponsors, and now includes a LIVE web stream of the Championship Event to gain world-wide coverage. The formula has worked. Today the event is the World of Concrete’s single greatest attraction, drawing as many as 4,000 or more spectators to the arena and watched by as many as 7,000 internet viewers every year.


Like all credible competitions, the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 is governed by well-defined rules covering nine different quality standards. Over time, the competition’s rules and judging criteria have been modified, or tightened, to better highlight the workmanship and technique of world-class bricklayers. However, the basics have not changed. Each team, comprised of a mason and a tender, have 60-minutes during which they build a 26 foot 8 inch, double-wythe brick wall as high as possible. All bricks must be placed by the mason. Following the wall building and a short rest period, the bricklayers are given twenty minutes to clean their wall. Then, the walls are measured, inspected, and reviewed by a select group of 25 or more experienced judges from North America. Deductions are made from the total brick count for rule infractions and tolerance deficiencies.


The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® has four awards. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards are based on the highest brick count meeting the quality standards. The record amount of brick laid by a mason in this competition was set by Garrett Hood in 2010 with a total of 911 brick. The fourth prize designation, and arguably considered the most coveted prize, is the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN® Award. All the judges select the wall evaluated to be the “most saleable wall” with a brick count over 500 and zero craftsmanship deductions. Only once in the event’s history has the Champion also won the TOP CRAFTSMAN Award, which was accomplished in 2014 by Jerry Goodman, 56, who perfectly laid 644 bricks.


The final award given at The World Championship is the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER® which pays the winner $2,500. Truly an ironman style event that separates the men from the boys, the SPEC MIX TOUGHEST TENDER is a preliminary event held just before The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship. In this event the tenders race the clock to set up a predefined work area for the mason while following strict instructions to ensure accuracy. The record winning time in this event was set back in 2005 by Felipe Reyes of Connecticut with a time of 11 minutes, 7 seconds.


The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship has the largest winner’s purse of any masonry competition with over $125,000 in cash and prizes awarded to the competitors. The top prize is a brand new FORD F-250 4×4 XLT Crew Cab truck.


If there is such a thing as a “labor of love,” hosting the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 is a responsibility that takes the cake for the SPEC MIX crew and we are very thankful for everyone’s contribution to this successful program.