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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | COUNTYWIDE

Event to Help Junior Lifeguard Programs

August 12, 1998|PAMELA J. JOHNSON

Although he is entered in a lifeguard competition, Spike Wessler doesn't care about winning.

Wessler has more heartfelt reasons for participating in the third annual Scurlock Challenge lifeguard competition Thursday.

The Ventura resident is doing it in honor of John Charles Scurlock, who was his teacher, then later a co-worker at Ventura State Beach before he was killed in an automobile accident in July 1993.

The competition, to be held at Carpinteria State Beach, was named after Scurlock, who was a lifeguard and worked as head coach of the Pleasant Valley Swim Team in Camarillo before his death at age 28.

"I'm going out there and am going to try my hardest, definitely," the 21-year-old Wessler said. "But I'm not expecting on winning or anything. I'm doing it for John."

Wessler is among about 100 Ventura County lifeguards expected to participate. Organizers expect about 300 lifeguards from Santa Cruz to San Diego to compete.

Last year's event drew about 15,000 spectators, said event founder Mike Lara, a state lifeguard who works in Carpinteria. Lifeguards will be judged on how quickly they can swim, paddle, run and perform rescues.

Lara, who was a close friend of Scurlock, said proceeds will go toward junior lifeguard programs in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. He expected to raise about $2,000 from the $15 fees each lifeguard pays to participate.

The event, sponsored by local businesses and nonprofit agencies, is free to the public. It will include food booths, raffles, T-shirt booths and information booths for such nonprofit agencies as the Surfrider Foundation.

The booths open at 2 p.m., with the competition from 5 to 10 p.m. Hourly raffles will begin at 3 p.m. A farmers' market will be held along Linden Avenue from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call 684-8732 or 684-2811.

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