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Newly-crowned champion bricklayer lives in the area

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Feb 11 2013 04:28:13 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 11 2013 02:38:57 PM CST

There a championship for everything and there's one for bricklaying. That champion is in our region.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. -

You've heard a thousand times, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

Not so for one Limestone, Tennessee brick mason.

What happened in Las Vegas is still being talked about among his peers. You see, he was named what could be arguably the best bricklayer in the world. He came home the champion of the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500.

It was a race to lay as many bricks as you can in a certain time limit.

It's one of the hardest jobs in the building trades, laying brick up the side of a new structure. You not only need speed, but precision as well.

One of the best at his trade is back home watching his championship run at the Spec Mix Bricklayers 500 in Las Vegas last week. Unlike so many, he brought home more than he went with. "A 2013 F-250 four-wheel-drive truck, that's about a $43,000 truck, $5,000 in cash, a lot of trophies and plaques," champion bricklayer Fred Campbell said.

And a lot of tools of his trade as he was named the champion bricklayer in the competition. "It's a one-hour competition. We lay as fast as you can and you have to lay them right because they have real tight guidelines," Campbell says.

It's a trade that he learned from his father at an early age. "I contracted and he'd say, 'Dad, bring me some mortar home.' Well, he built flower beds. I couldn't walk for flower beds he'd built around the house so I finally took him on the job," his father Bob said.

Some place he's been ever since and just how fast and how many brick did he lay? "Out there in Vegas I laid 684, but I had two bricks that were tilted a little bit and they deducted 50 bricks for it. So my final count was 634," Fred said.

And of course it goes without saying -- "I'm proud of him. He's a chip off the old block," his dad added.