Bricklayer 500 Names Best Bricklayer in Oklahoma

by Nathan Ritter

A northeastern Oklahoma man advances to the next level as he aims to reclaim his title as the best bricklayer in the nation.

The Spec Mix BrickLayer 500, a competition for bricklayers, held its Oklahoma Regional Series. The goal of the competition is to see who can lay the most brick in an hour. 

This competition started in 2003 and the state winners will advance to the world championships, which are held in Las Vegas.  

Oklahoma’s winner, Leif Reints, is from Wyandotte. He laid 571 bricks in an hour. This was Rents’ seventh qualification for the world championship. He said he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to enter this year and only finalized his entry three days before the event.

Mason tender Calvin Bean (left) and Mason Leif Reints (right) prepare for the competition

Reints teamed up mason tender Calvin Bean with Reints Masonry in Wyandotte, OK. A mason tender puts the mortar on the board and moves the bricks on the brick board to assist the master bricklayer.

Reints said his win was especially surprising because he did not practice before the competition like he normally does.

In the Bricklayer 500, contestants have one hour to build the best 26-foot-long brick wall they can. Entries are judged based on the number of bricks and quality of craftsmanship.

To do this, masons start by making leads on the ends of the wall. The leads look like stairs. 

Creating the stair-step formation requires putting enough mortar for five bricks and laying those bricks. Then the mason spreads mortar for three bricks and lays those bricks. Next two bricks are laid and finally the final brick caps off the lead.

All this work has to be level, straight and plumb. Plumb is the companion to level, meaning the wall has to be perfectly straight up and down.

Once the stair-step lead is finished masons put their line on the edge of the lead.  This is done to ensure every single brick is level without having to use a bubble level on every single brick.

Bricklayers will check their work by sliding a trowel across the bricks and if they hit the line with your trowel they know something is wrong.

Finally the contestants spread mortar on all the bricks in between the two leads and lay bricks as quickly as possible. Judges will also look to make sure bricks aren’t chipped and for any gaps in the mortar.

Besides bragging rights, Reints also won the state prize of $600 and $200 worth of tools.  He will now advance to the Bricklayer 500 World Championship which will be held January 19th, 2022 at the World of Concrete expo in Las Vegas.

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