GRAY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A nationwide masonry challenge called the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 is coming to the Appalachian Fairgrounds on Thursday when some of Tennessee’s most skilled masons will compete for a spot in the world competition in Las Vegas.
A release from Spec Mix states the competition aims to “create awareness and interest needed to entice the next generation of masons.” The event offers learning and practice opportunities alongside the main contest, in hopes of educating and piquing the interest of future tradespeople.
The release said this regional competition is one of 23 qualifiers across the country, and Thursday’s challenge will crown “East Tennessee’s Best Bricklayer.” That winner will be invited to Vegas to compete in the world competition for a chance to win prizes totaling almost $125,000.
According to the release, contestants will be challenged in their speed, skill and stamina. They’ll be tasked with building the best and tallest 26-foot-long brick wall in one hour with as few mistakes as possible. Bricklayers will be allowed one “mason tender” to assist them.
Judges will critique the walls after the hour is up, subtracting any errors from the total number of bricks in the wall. After judging, the contestant with the highest number of bricks will be crowned the winner.
Before the main event contest, spectators and kids will have the chance to learn about masonry and tricks of the trade from the pros. After that, the release said local high schoolers and masonry apprentices will attend and compete in their own Jr. Bricklayer 500.
Spectators will be encouraged to try their hand at bricklaying during a special spectator game called “Be a Bricklayer,” which takes place during the Jr. Bricklayer contest.
A full schedule of events taking place during the Bricklayer 500 can be found below: