Bricklayers Jack and Patrick Sommerfeld are heading to Las Vegas after being invited to compete in the ‘2016 Fastest Trowel on the Block’ competition. The twenty-year-old twins from Mackay, are the only international competitors in the televised event.

Up against 17 other teams from across the United States, the competition is all about team work; Jack will be the block layer and Pat will be his Tender (US term for labourer).

“I got the good job”, says Jack with a laugh.

“Dad is a brickie, and we were always out on job sites as kids lending a hand, and as we got older we started doing more and more. I always wanted to be just like Dad, it’s all I ever wanted to do.

“I got picked on at school and couldn’t wait to start working. Dad took us on as apprentices and now we’re both fully qualified. I love the hard work and the feeling of accomplishment after a day on site.

“I’ve got a lot of mates who are still looking for jobs, but I’ve been a tradie for years. I’m still working with Dad, I live with him too so we have to sort everything out at work if there’s a problem because we don’t want to take it home.

“I’m stoked to be invited to compete in the Fastest Trowel, we only found out just before Christmas and I couldn’t be happier.

“In the competition we have 20 minutes to lay out a wall 9m long or 30 foot in US terms. Last year the winner laid 115 blocks in that time, and in my first practice run I matched that so I know I’m in with a chance. I’ve got my eye on the prize, I’m going there to win.

“My Dad, Mum and sister are all coming to Las Vegas to watch us compete, it will be really great having them there for support. Dad said he wouldn’t miss it for the world.

“We fly over at the end of January and have a few more time trials planned before then so we can get as much practice as possible.

“The hardest thing will be dealing with the pressure; I know I can’t have any doubt in myself. I picture myself on the podium holding the prize money. It’s a big title to take, but I’d love to be the fastest trowel in the world.

Brother Pat is backing Jack all the way and will be his wingman in Vegas.

“Jack is laying the bricks. We talked about it, and there was a bit of friendly push and shove about which roles we wanted to do, but I think he has a stronger technique. My job is to keep up with the mortar and blocks, and to cheer him on.

“Being a brickie is a very hard job, we’re out in the sun all day, it’s definitely not for everyone. I learnt all the best skills from Dad, he was a great mentor and I wouldn’t have this opportunity if it wasn’t for him.

“I have three brothers and we’re all bricklayers. On one job we all worked together, it was quite hectic.

“The biggest challenge in Las Vegas will be getting past the nerves and the crowd. That’s why we’re doing lots of test runs now."

“If you’re thinking about being a bricklayer, I’d say pick up a trowel and give it a go. If you work hard and have a good work ethic you never know where it will lead. I never thought I would be going to Las Vegas.”

Jack and Pat are being supported by Masonry Contractors Australia and Tony Bishop from ABBTF will be accompanying them as a judge in the Masonry Challenge as part of the leadership group heading to Las Vegas. Thousands of dollars in cash and prizes are up for stake and the competition takes place on 3 February 2016.

Jack and Pat will also represent Queensland in the National WorldSkills competition in Melbourne later this year.

Best of luck to Jack and Pat from the Team at CSQ!

What is The Fastest Trowel on the Block Competition?

The Fastest Trowel on the Block is hosted by the Mason Contractors Association of America, and showcases industry craftsmanship. Only those who have the skill, confidence and courage to face-off with the industry's best are invited to compete. The contest also proves how important teamwork is in accomplishing a final product.

The competition pits qualified masons, accompanied by their favourite tender (labourer), against one another in a show of speed and craftsmanship. Each contestant's goal is to complete as much of a 9-meter-long wall as possible, using 8"x8"x16" concrete blocks and the provided mortar in a twenty-minute heat. Contestants must use normal masonry practices and hand tools.

The contest promotes quality training and pride in workmanship, and showcases the craftsmanship, speed and versatility of the masonry workforce. The contest rewards and highlights the country's best mason’s for their hard work and dedication to the trade.