FORT ATKINSON — Brick by brick. That's how Jake Brock from Fort Atkinson in Jefferson County plans to become the number one bricklayer in the entire world.
Jake is going to compete in the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500 World Championship in Las Vegas on June 9. It will be his 7th time competing at the event. He has never made it to the podium before, but he thinks this is his year.
"We were three bricks short one year, so that was a bit exciting."
The world championship tests how many bricks a mason can place in a row and on top of each other within an hour. They are also judged on the quality of their placement. If they mess up or have poor construction, they can be docked points. In the end, it will look like a long low wall.
Jake qualified for this tournament by laying around 550 bricks at a regional event in Fond du Lac. However, he will need to bump those numbers up if he wants a shot at the $125,000 in cash and prizes as well as a brand-new Ford F-250.
"Pushing around a 650 to a 725 brick count-mark out in Vegas," he said.
Jake is no stranger to the bricklaying game. He is president of the Brock Construction company, and some would say he was born to do this.
"Grandpa did masonry. My dad does masonry. My uncles. My brother. So it’s not that we didn’t have a choice, but dad got us up and had us laboring for him.”
It's not an easy sport on your body. It's tough on competitors' backs and hands. Jake has had his share of his injuries.
"A good 15 to 20 stitches from doing things I shouldn’t have been doing."
Like jamming his finger, dropping bricks on his fingers, and any other bad situation you could imagine when working with heavy, hard objects at breakneck speeds.
That's one reason why the president of a construction company is trying to be in the office a little more ahead of the championship. He doesn't want to get injured.
That doesn't mean he isn't practicing. He is working hard to get the title and has about a week left before he leaves for Las Vegas.
You can live stream the June 9 event. Find out more information here.