SPARTA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — For generations, craftsmen have claimed to be the best of the best. But did you know there’s now a Super Bowl of masonry to prove it?
It’s called the Bricklaying Championships, and a leading competitor is from New Jersey. He’s the focus of this week’s Snapshot NY with CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.READ MORE: Fox That Attacked 4-Year-Old Girl, 2 Others In New Jersey Tests Positive For Rabies
“Every day at the end of the day I look at what I did and I take a picture of it, because I accomplished something. Every day, I create something. I create something with my hands,” Johnny Langeraap said.
For some guys, masonry is in their blood. Langeraap started laying brick at age 13. Now, he’s vying to become the world’s best.
“It’s nice to be able to get to that Vegas level, but I need to gain a couple hundred more brick to play with those big dogs,” Langeraap said with a laugh.
The best masons from around the world converge on Las Vegas for the Bricklayer 500 World Championship. They have one hour to build the biggest wall. The winner gets $125,000 and a brand new truck.
“You can see there’s five mud mortar boards and then five stacks of bricks,” Langeraap said.
On Thursday, he has set up his final practice run at Sparta Block in central New Jersey.
Most masons put mortar on the whole wall before laying brick. Langeraap does it one at a time. It’s more exhausting, but it’s faster.
“One trough of mud. One brick at a time,” he said.READ MORE: Report Says New Jersey Has Spent Nearly $12 Billion On Drug Arrests, Prosecutions, Incarcerations Since 2010
Langeraap spends most of his time on the ends, or leads. They have to be perfect or the judges will deduct points.
“Check this level. Check the bubble,” he said demonstrating. “It’s almost touching the line, but she’s away from it.”
After the leads, it’s a race to complete the wall in time.
Bricklayers have helped build America. In fact, the tallest brick building in the world is in New York City. The Chrysler Building is brick and steel.
During the the regional competition, Langeraap and Luke Wikander, his tender or assistant, built a wall with 543 bricks in one hour. The national leader is at 700 bricks.
“If we go seven high, then you can put two on top of that going up. That would put you at 720,” Wikander said.
“So, you think you’ve got a 700-brick performance in you?” Overmyer asked.
“I hope so. I believe so,” Langeraap said.
“I’m laying a bet on it,” Wikander added.
Laying bets on laying bricks.MORE NEWS: Newark Museum Of Art Spotlights New Jersey Artists In Special Exhibition
The Bricklaying Championships are next Wednesday in Las Vegas, where Langeraap bring 23 of his friends and family to cheer him on. You’ll be able to watch the live stream here.