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The 'Super Bowl of Masonry': masons compete to be 'Wisconsin's Best Bricklayer'

"Wisconsin's Best Bricklayer" Competition
Posted at 8:53 PM, Sep 13, 2023
  • The "Wisconsin's Best Bricklayer" competition drew masons from around the state to Fond du Lac.
  • Winner Jake Brock will go to Las Vegas to compete for up to $125,000 worth of prizes.
  • Brock will be joined by last year's world champion, Michael Schlund.
  • The event also encourages young people to get involved in trades.

Masons call it the “Super Bowl of Masonry”
Masons across Wisconsin gathered in Fond du Lac for the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500, to compete for the title of “Wisconsin’s best bricklayer.” The winner will travel to Las Vegas, where they can win up to $125,000 in prizes, including a truck for the first-place champion.

The masons were tasked with building a 26-foot-long brick wall in one hour. The judges then subtracted any mistakes from the total brick county of the wall.

Jake Brock from Ft. Atkinso won the competition with a wall made from a whopping 498 bricks. Now, he’s headed to Vegas.

“We got to practice a lot first, which is, it's tough to practice laying brick, but . . . we're going to do that this year and try to be a better competitor than the past,” Brock said.

Brock said he’s been to the Vegas competition 12 times already and is looking to win it all this year.

He’ll be joined by Michael Schlund of Wausau, who won the world competition last year, so he’s automatically re-entered for this year to defend his title.

“We've tried several different ways of building the wall to try to get faster,” Schlund said. “And I think what we're doing now it's, it's working pretty good.”

The competition also promotes young people getting involved in the trades, and more than 300 local high school students and apprentices competed in their own junior competition, which was 20 minutes as opposed to an hour.

“Of course, I want [my wall] to look just like [the professionals’]. And hopefully do the same amount as they would in 20 minutes,” high school student Jacob Keys said.

Local employers attended the event in hopes of recruiting the next generation of masons.

“There's a strong need for people in the trades, especially masonry and ironworkers,” Dave Supple, C.D. Smith Director of Field Operations, said. “We're hiring on new people all the time.”

U.S. News and World Report ranked masonry as the ninth highest-paying job without a degree, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development predicted a six percent increase in bricklaying jobs in Wisconsin through 2026.

Brock and Schlund said they’re excited to represent their home state on a national scale.

“You stand back and look at what you've done, and it gives you a sense of pride,” Brock said.

Schlund is hoping to be the first person to win the competition two years in a row.

“It was an unbelievable feeling to finally have all the years of hard work and effort put into it play, Schlund said.”