Qualifies to compete in Bricklayers’ world championship in Las Vegas
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Bridgeton, MO – Bricklayers Local 1 journeyman JT Payne earned the title of Missouri’s Best Bricklayer by winning first place in the 2021 Missouri Spec Mix Bricklayer Championship.
Payne, along with his mason tender Jeff Head, both of Foeste Masonry in Cape Girardeau, Mo., laid 702 bricks in just one hour at the event, held Oct. 2 at Kirchner Midwest Brick & Block in Bridgeton.
Payne, a third-generation bricklayer, beat out seven other local bricklayers, officially earning his shot to compete on the biggest stage in masonry – the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 World Championship – at the World of Concrete Expo in Las Vegas next year.
THIRD TIME QUALIFYING
This is Payne’s third time qualifying for the World Championship, and this year he’s determined to win that Ford truck at the 2022 event.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” Payne said. “We wanted Top Craftsman and first place, and that’s what we got. We are ready to go win a truck now. We have a few different ways we’re going to do our leads and make them a little straighter out there this year.”
Brian Jennewein, director of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) Administrative District Council (ADC) of Eastern Missouri, said he hopes this will be Payne’s year in the world championship.
SPEAKS TO DEDICATION AND WORK ETHIC
“He’s a maniac,” Jennewein said of Payne. “The high skill level JT put into the regional competition speaks to his dedication and work ethic. He is definitely representing us well.”
To qualify for the world championship, hundreds of teams from across North America battle to win one of 20 individual regional series events, proving they belong on the national stage. Each team, consisting of one bricklayer and one mason tender, is given an hour to build the tallest and best 26-foot-long brick wall.
One winning team from each region will advance to the world championship to compete for more than $125,000 in cash and prizes, including a new Ford F-250 4×4 Truck, Kubota RTV-X1140 and the title “World’s Best Bricklayer” and/or Spec Mix Top Craftsman.
TOP CRAFTSMAN PRIZE
Payne and Head also took the Spec Mix Top Craftsman prize, which goes to the team with the “most-sellable” wall. All in all, they walked away with $1,300 and a free ticket to Las Vegas for their efforts in Missouri. The national sponsorship team added more goodies to the prize pool, including a $200 gift certificate from Ford, a $200 gift certificate from Stabila Blaklader levels, a Marshalltown tool bag and ceremonial trowel.
Second place went to last year’s qualifier, Bricklayers Local 1’s Javier Chacon and mason tender Steve Braswell of John R. Smith Masonry in St. Louis, with a brick count of 548. For their efforts, the team won $500, a Stabila level, a Marshalltown tool bag and ceremonial trowel.
Third place went to Bricklayers Local 1’s Rudy Menke and mason tender Brad Adams, also of John R. Smith Masonry, with a brick count of 477. The team took home $400 for their efforts.
With workforce development being the primary battle cry for the skilled trades, the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 is a tool designed to create interest from a new generation of bricklayers in the rewards and opportunities possible in masonry and construction.
20TH ANNUAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The 20th annual Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 World Championship will be held Jan. 19, 2022 at the World of Concrete Expo in Las Vegas.