A mid one of the toughest business environments masonry companies have seen in decades, thousands of people showed up at World of Masonry/World of Concrete to see exhibitors, watch several exciting events, and to attend seminars.

A total of 55,108 people attended the four-day event in Las Vegas. Also, 1354 exhibiting companies took up more than 600,000 square feet of space inside and outside the Las Vegas Convention Center. As usual, masons from all over the nation spent lots of time at World of Masonry in the South Hall.

"Our exhibitors were pleasantly surprised at the bustling crowds on opening day," said show director Tom Cindric. "The quality of participants we continue to bring to the show is what sets WOC apart from other shows in the commercial construction industry. Our goal is, and always will be, to bring together qualified buyers and sellers to do business, share ideas, and to network. Judging from the feedback we have received for our exhibitors, we have accomplished this goal."

Among the standout events was the Concrete Industry Management Auction, which raised $386,000, the Women in Concrete Breakfast and Forum, Greensite Luncheon and Forum, Artistry in Concrete demonstrations, Hoover Dam Bypass Tour, John Deere Load America Competition, and Mack Driving Skills Safety Challenge. Visit www.masonryconstruction.com for complete coverage, including photos and videos, from the show.

2011 World of Masonry/World of Concrete takes place Jan. 18-21 in Las Vegas; seminars begin Jan. 17. Visit www.worldofconcrete.com for updates throughout the year.

SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500

Garrett Hood's winnings just keep growing and growing. The mason from McGee Brothers in Monroe, N.C., laid 911 brick during the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 to be crowned World's Best Bricklayer. For his efforts, he won a new Ford pickup truck, $5000 cash, and other sponsor prizes.

Hood, 25, laid 791 brick to win in 2008, and placed 861 last year to finish in second place. Add it up, and Hood has placed 2571 brick in 180 minutes of competition the last three years.

His prizes add up to two new Ford pickup trucks, $14,000 cash, thousands of dollars worth of other sponsors' prizes, one second-place and two first-place trophies, and his face on two covers of MASONRY CONSTRUCTION magazine. Hood also is a former SkillsUSA national masonry champion. His mason tender was Kevin Hallman, also with McGee Brothers.

Every year at the show, 20 two-man teams made up of a mason and tender compete to lay the most brick in 60 minutes, while meeting strictly defined quality standards. The event has the largest winner's purse of any masonry competition.

Others were also recognized for their valiant efforts. The second place overall winner was Ken Rutley, of Mayzes Masonry in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, who laid 818 brick. Rutley won $4000 cash and other sponsor prizes. Third place overall winner was Adam Vaske of Seedorff Masonry in Strawberry Point, Iowa, who placed 691 brick. He won $3000 cash and other sponsor prizes.

Joseph Vanek of Vanek Masonry in Oak Forest, Ill., won the Top Craftsman award. The quality of his 570-brick wall was judged the “most sellable.” He won $5000 cash and other sponsor prizes.

Finally, Aaron Cooke, with Giambrone Masonry Inc., Hudson, Ohio, won $2500 cash and sponsor prizes for being the Toughest Tender winner. In this preliminary event, tenders race the clock to set up a predefined work area for the masons. Cooke's winning time was 19 minutes.

To see a free Webcast of the event, visit www.specmixbricklayer500.com. Also, visit www.smbl500.com/webcast-info.cfm to see an archived video of the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500 national competition.