On Sunday afternoon at Rivercenter Mall, when Brick Factor 2019 came to a close after a grueling two days of playing with LEGOs, Kevin Hintz of Michigan got exactly what he traveled to San Antonio for: a container full of LEGOs dumped on his head and his dream job.
After winning the competition over the weekend, Hintz, 25, will become the full-time Master Model Builder of LEGOLAND Discovery Center, a two-story attraction scheduled to open at the mall in May. It also includes the SEA LIFE Aquarium inside a 65,000-square-foot space where the old Joske’s section connects with the rest of the mall.
Hintz will work with LEGO design teams to fabricate and maintain models throughout what’s described as a giant LEGO playground, and he’ll also lead free creative workshops, held on a daily basis.
“My passion has always been LEGO, so I’ve been just practicing LEGO on my own,” Hintz said while donning a white LEGO hardhat and holding a “gold” cup made of yellow LEGOs. “Just from a little kid, when I first got that first set and started building, I realized how much potential of creativity there is in a single LEGO piece.”
Hintz body of work throughout three themed rounds include the Guadalupe bass (the state fish of Texas for the aquatic theme), the Alamo (for the Texas theme), and a series of autobiographical objects that represented his life.
Overall, 50 applicants competed Saturday and Sunday. They traveled from as far away as Hawaii, but most were from the San Antonio area.
Among the local competitors was Mario Salazar, a 39-year-old LEGO fan who wore a black baseball cap that had the peg-like cylinders on the bill and face so he could attach members of Marvel’s The Avengers to it. Young, up-and-coming builder Tristan Ingram, 9, saw Salazar and his special gear on social media before the finals on Sunday, and became an instant fan, making his own Spurs cap like Salazar’s.
“He put them together this morning, and he wanted to meet him,” Tristan’s mom, Kristi, said.
Young Ingram found Salazar and the two teamed up for the finals, but, unfortunately, Salazar didn’t place.