Tyler and Amy Clites, of Myakka City, picked up $100,000 for their victory.
Even as Myakka City resident Amy Clites and her husband, Tyler Clites, entered a competition of top amateur Lego builders from across the country, Amy Clites believed her husband was one of the best LEGO builders in the country, if not the world.
Now, she has the trophy, and the $100,000 first-place award, to prove it.
On April 16, they were named champions during the final episode of “LEGO Masters.” Their final build was called “Treasure of the Griffin.” It was a tall structure featuring a griffin (a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, the head and wings of an eagle and an eagle's talons) protecting his nest of babies from an attack from a lizard monster. The couple had 24 hours to complete the project and were inspired by their own situation — their first child, a boy, is due July 7.
“I was not expecting the win. I was rehearsing my second-place speech,” Amy Clites said. “When we heard our names announced, my heart just stopped.”
Tyler Clites, who creates Lego art for a living, said winning was a dream come true.
“It feels like all of my Lego building from age 2 to now has been this epic lead-up to this one moment,” Tyler Clites said. “It’s been an incredible journey.”
Show host and executive producer Will Arnett announced their winning statue will be displayed at Legoland New York Resort, slated to open in 2021.
Amy and Tyler Clites said they have been saving for a home and will put their $100,000 Lego Masters prize toward that goal, likely purchasing one this fall.
Initially, however, their new baby will have a nursery inside Tyler’s office and Lego room.
“We’re just saying the nursery is going to have a strong Lego theme,” Tyler Clites said with a laugh.
Tyler Clites, who grew up in Brandon, has a degree in film from University of Central Florida, but now creates and photographs Lego sets for a living. He works for Build Better Bricks, which sells instructions for creating 3-D Lego art. A subsidiary company also sells Lego sets with instructions.
Amy Clites, who grew up in Lakewood Ranch, is a piano teacher.
The couple said filming the show required plenty of creativity, however, they still have ideas left, both for Legos and other projects.
“One of the things that’s wonderful about creativity is I don’t think you can ever dry up,” Tyler Clites said. “There are times you get more exhausted…but it never dries up. Creativity is something you can kindle.:
Amy Clites said she and Tyler believe their creativity is a gift from God, author of creation and of creativity.
“We want to inspire people ultimately to seek him,” she said.
"Lego Masters" aired Wednesdays on FOX starting Feb. 5. Filming occurred October and September 2019.