FROM STAFF REPORTS
A masonry apprentice from Huntley Brothers Company at Mint Hill is the Champion of the 2022 North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) annual Samuel A. McGee Masonry Apprentice Masonry Skills Contest.
Twenty-year-old Christian Kluttz of Mount Pleasant took home a significant cash prize, a truckload of new tools and the prestigious “David R. Sigman Award.” Kluttz was among 50 apprentices from 13 NCMCA member firms participating in the contest hosted by Adams, at an Oldcastle company at their Colfax facility on May 21.
Rounding out the top 10: Second place finisher Cade Huntley, Huntley Brothers Company; Third place finishers Colson Childers, Griffin Masonry; Fourth place finisher Mason Saunders, Huntley Brothers Company; Fifth place finisher Cam Hill, McGee Brothers Company; sixth through 10th place in consecutive order, Grant Haney and Carter McGee, McGee Brothers Company; Leonard Oconnor, Harrington Masonry; Avina Rodriguez, Manning Masonry; and in 10th place, Joshua Queen, McGee Brothers Company.
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Contestants had two hours to construct a predetermined panel project. They were then judged by a team of journeyman masons for plumb, level, production, correct design, range and other criteria. The two-hour time limit makes the Sam McGee among the most challenging apprentice masonry competitions in the country. Most such competitions allow at least three hours to build similar projects.
Scores ranged from 13 to 21 for the top 10. (Scoring is based on “deductions,” so low score wins.) A three-way tie at the top was settled with “plumb” scores as the tiebreaker.
Kluttz is the son of Kima and David Kluttz. His interests outside of work are doing side jobs on the weekend and working out at the gym.
“Previous national masonry champion Daniel Furr, who was like a second brother to me growing up, is the sole reason I got into masonry in the first place because he made it look so cool. My hope for the future is to run a crew for Huntley Brothers,” Kluttz said.
Kluttz said his favorite quote is from Proverbs 14:23: “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Kent Huntley of Huntley Brothers Company, himself a previous winner of the contest (1986), says, “Christian works with Rex Huntley’s crew and does an excellent job for us in addition to having tremendous passion for masonry.”
The annual contest is named in memory of Sam McGee. Samuel Alexander McGee (1939-2015) was co-founder and president of McGee Brothers Company in Monroe. Recognized as an innovator in the industry, Sam was inducted into the Masonry Contractors Association of America Hall-of-Fame in 2014. He was inducted into the National Masonry Instructors Association Hall-of-Fame in 2012 and was among the first individuals to earn the designation “Certified Masonry Executive” in the NCMCA Masonry Contractor Certification Program. He had a passion for the masonry industry and for encouraging and teaching young people craft skills, especially masonry.
The apprentice who finishes with the top score in the contest is presented the “David R. Sigmon Award” as first place finisher of the annual event. The award is named in memory of David Sigmon, a journeyman mason from Hickory who died in 1998 while serving as NCMCA president-elect and who had been active in promoting this contest and other programs around the state to recruit and develop young craftsmen for masonry careers .
The 2023 Samuel A. McGee Memorial Masonry Apprentice Skills Competition is set for May 20, 2023, in Kinston co-hosted by the NCMCA Eastern Carolina Chapter and EastWest Products.
The North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association has about 150 member firms across the Carolinas. NCMCA promotes masonry as a great option choice and as the building material of choice.
For more information, contact Ryan Shaver at 704-791-5240 or [email protected] or go to www.ncmca.com.
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