NORMAN, OKLAHOMA — If architecture begins when you carefully put two bricks together, and bricklayers are the tradespeople who do most of that work, then this collection of men assembled on a Norman parking lot would have to be considered the best builders in Oklahoma.
Welcome to one of the more than twenty different regional competitions in the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500.
“These are the guys who build our schools, our churches, and our commercial buildings in Oklahoma,” says competition organizer and Quikrete sales representative Carson Wann.
The idea, build the tallest wall with the fewest defects in one hour.
“We have a mason tender and a bricklayer,” he explains. “The tinder is responsible for supplying all the brick.”
Ten teams of tindermen and masons lined up in the sun Thursday morning and built as fast as they could go.
‘Brick by brick’ goes the saying.
Are your perps straight?
Is your joint consistent?
Can the tinder man keep the mortar shook up?
Wann says, “We judge for levelness, height, and we check the head joints and bed joints.”
They do as much in an hour as a regular mason usually finishes in a day.
Six hundred bricks, double layered, overhand.
That’s a good number to shoot for but hardly ever reached.
Wann explains, “That can be really tricky for some of these young guys because a lot of them have never layed brick overhand before.”
After some careful judging one, clear winner emerged, a bricklaying veteran from Miami, Oklahoma who happens to own a business called Providence Masonry.
Darren Douthit left no doubt, winning both major competitions with the most bricks layed and fewest deductions.
“Day in and day out practice,” he chuckles and he explains his bricklaying secret.
Bricks are the building blocks for a million cute sayings.
You can look them up, but it takes a true craftsman to make a good wall, one that will stand against all the elements Oklahoma can throw.
Douthit took home more than $1,100 in prize money and tools.
He also won a free trip to Las Vegas for the world bricklaying championships in January, 2019.