Check out the practice run this morning. Thanks to the TODAY show for the clip.
"The world bricklaying championships will be held in Las Vegas next month and amongst the competitors will be a bunch of Aussies. Competitors in training, Cathy Bellenger will be in the women's amateur division. Meantime, Ron Elliott and Mark Rose are in the big shootout for professionals, and they joined TODAY."
Quoted from ninemsn.com.au.
Mark Roese, Cathy Bellenger and Ron Elliott at Bondi Beach. They will be going to the World Bricklaying Championships at Las Vegas. Picture: Anthony Reginato Source: The Sunday Telegraph.
The USA’s annual quest to find ‘The World’s Best Bricklayer’ is on again and Aussie blokes Ron Elliott and Mark Roese are heading back for a second try. Aussie Cathy Bellenger, who was runner-up last year in the all-female amateur bricklaying category is also back, confident of a win this time.
The event, now in its 13th year, can be viewed live on Wednesday February 6, 2013; information is available at the Specmix Bricklayer 500 website. The event is held in conjunction with the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas, USA.
Entrants come mainly from around the USA but Australian Ron Elliott submitted a video last year to demonstrate his capability and gained entry and this year was invited to return having done very well in 2012. The aim is to lay as many bricks in one hour on a wall as possible. The 2012 winner won with 572 per hour (9.5/minute) last year compared to Ron’s 6th place with 540, so this year he’s is training to achieve 600. A very healthy $US100,000 in total prize money is shared, so it’s worth the effort of training the 3 hours/day the team is putting in. The final wall is also judged on quality – how level and straight it is and crooked or chipped bricks are deducted from the total.
The team comes from The Country Group, bricklayers from Botany NSW. Mark Roese is Ron’s labourer in the event, providing him with his materials (mud ‘n bricks) and he takes part in a similar competition against his peers. Cathy, as mentioned above, is a strong contender for the all-female amateur award! As reported in a blog HERE on last year’s event, The Country Group has two bricklaying apprentices in the team. What an enthusiastic, ‘can do’ environment in which to be training for your Apprenticeship!
Their boss, Brian Freeman, believes they can win. "For Ron and Mark to be competing against the world's best and to come out on top would be an absolute honour. It's a pretty big deal to be judged by your peers in this industry and to be called the world's best."
The guys have a host of sponsors, including the ABBTF as a lead supporter, all hoping for the top result. However they finish though, it’s a great challenge and all credit to them for having a crack at it and giving their best!! The team at ABBTF will be glued to the pc screen!
We previously reported in this blog on Ron Elliott and the team at The Country Group (Botany NSW) who, on Australia Day this year, ‘carried’ the Aussie flag in the US Spec Mix 500 Competition for the title of Best Bricklayer in the World! Brian Freeman had been visiting the annual event for some years and decided with workmates Ron and Mark Reese to have a crack at the title in January this year.
Well they didn’t win but Ron says it was an amazing experience and they learned a heap about competing in the event and hope to do it again in 2013. Ron said the atmosphere was ‘mad’ - like a footy final in Australia. The excitement among the crowd was fantastic, with cheering and screaming and a barrage of commentary coming from the loudspeaker all adding to rev up the competition.
The US bricks and mortar are different and take a bit of getting used to. The bricks there are much smaller and the mortar is more sandy and loose, so the bricks slide more – all of which means you need a bit of experience working with them to perform at your best. Ron and the team received lots of positive feedback from the crowd, with compliments on the quality and accuracy of the constructed wall. Other competitors were very friendly and the team was given lots of good advice. Now they know what to expect they believe they’ve a strong chance of doing well representing Australia in Spec Mix 500 2013.
This year, a US team came in first and a Canadian second, both of whom had been competing for several years at this event. The Country Group represented Australia along with a UK and two Canadian teams; otherwise it was a US competition based on regional title winners.
The Country Group has two second year apprentices in the team. With this team’s enthusiasm and attitude, it sounds like a great learning and work environment in which to train for the apprenticeship.
ABBTF NSW State Manager
It seems that bricklayers are a very competitive breed. Take Ron Elliott – he’s about to compete for Best Bricklayer against the best in the USA - the 16 winners from regional bricklayer events that were held during 2011 throughout the US & Canada. Together with just one other non US bricklayer, a Pom, each competitor has to lay as many bricks as he can in one hour, with deductions for inferior work. Ron says "I'm not going there to muck around. I'm taking it very seriously," he said. "It's too far to fly not to win."
The event is the Spec Mix 500 World's Best Bricklayer competition, part of the World of Concrete Trade Show which takes place in Las Vegas on, of all days, Australia Day! Ron’s workmate Mark Roese, 38, will compete in the best labourer section at the same Trade Show.
If you’d like to take in the action –coverage of the competitions is being streamed live from 5:00 AM Aussie time, January 26, 2012. Full details are at the Spec Mix website.
Ron, who is site manager for The Country Group, has been a bricklayer for 27 years and believes he’s well prepared. "I've been doing about two hours training every day for the last couple of months; building walls and corners and trying to get my speed up and make sure the walls are close to perfect," he said.
Ron’s boss, Brian Freeman has been attending the World of Concrete Trade Show for years and decided it was time! "If it's going to be the world's best bricklayer surely an Australian can be in it" Mr Freeman said. "I think we've got a very good chance of winning. I'm very confident we can come back with a first place."
Mark Roese, Project Manager and Estimator, also with The Country Group, is equally confident. He will have 20 minutes to set up his work area. "I can't wait to go and show the Americans that we're good tradesmen," he said.
Good luck to the guys, we’ll be watching and waving our Aussie flags!
David Gill, ABBTF NSW Manager