Winners of last year’s competition, the Ocean City Beach Patrol takes on more than a dozen other beach-town teams in the South Jersey Lifeguard Competition.
For those who have been cheering on their favorite lifeguards and patrols this summer, the grand finale is about to arrive.
Signaling the end of the 2012 summer season, the South Jersey Lifeguard Championships will commence on the 34th street beach in Ocean City on Friday, Aug. 10.
The biggest and most esteemed lifeguard competition of the summer hits the family resort once a year, where hundreds of people usually attend the race and drop in on the action-packed competitions. (ESPN was even there filming one year.)
The lifeguard championships are one of the area’s longest-running sports competitions, beginning in 1924. From Brigantine to Cape May, 15 beach patrols make up the South Jersey Lifeguard Chiefs Association and will send their competitors to the Ocean City championship event.
Three different events make up the South Jersey Lifeguard Championships: doubles row, swim and singles row, with events tallied from first through fifth place.
Last year, the Ocean City Beach Patrol won the South Jersey title for the first time since 2006 with a pair of second places in the rowing events on the beaches of Margate. This year, the “Jerseys” have returned home to 34th Street as the hosts of the competition.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol has 33 other South Jersey titles which include 11 from 1961 to 1971 and three from 2004 to 2006 with a tie in Ventnor.
“This is really the race that’s basically run and set up by the South Jersey Chiefs Association,” says Tom Mullineaux, operations chief and head administrator of the Ocean City Beach Patrol.
“It’s not just an Ocean City thing, it’s a regional event and whoever wins is going to host next year’s competition.”
Mullineaux says there is usually a very large turn out for the annual event: “I’d say about 1,000 people or more will show up.
“The event gives bragging rights to the winners. You’ll see the best competitors in this.”
Last year, Dylan Kosten and Matt Garbutt, both of whom have participated in the championships for a couple of years, took second place in the doubles row with Kosten coming back to finish second in the singles row.
It was the first time the two had competed together.
“One of my favorite parts about summertime at the Jersey Shore is going to this event,” says Brianne Owens, a Virginia native who spends her summers in Ocean City.
“It’s like the Super Bowl of lifeguards and visiting the other islands and beach towns where the championship is held is always pretty awesome.”
In the midst of an Olympics summer with Ocean City as the host island for the lifeguard championship, loyal fans like Owens are excited for the upcoming competition.
The championships are unpredictable due to weather, waves, currents and tides. Will Ocean City again take the crown or be dethroned by a neighboring beach town and a new host?
The beach only knows.
OCEAN CITY EVENTS CALENDAR
Thursday, Aug. 9
103rd Annual Baby Parade
Boardwalk, 6th to 12th sts. One of the oldest baby parades in the country. The Parade is open to children from infants to ten years of age. Parents may register at the Music Pier Information Center, Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. The Center is open every day from 9am-9pm. Parade 10:15am. For more information call 609-525-9300.
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. Prizes for those who look the most and least alike. Free. Registration begins at 6pm. Contest 6:30pm. 525-9300. ocnj.us
Saturday, Aug. 11
37th annual Boys and Girls Surf Fishing Tournament
North end beach by the Ocean City-Longport Bridge. Free to youths between 8 and 16. Registration 9-10am at the Tournament 10am-12noon. Rain date: August 18. 398-0534.
Miss Ocean City Pageant
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and boardwalk. Sponsored by the Ocean City Exchange Club. For more information visit www.ocexchangeclub.org.
Ocean City Exchange Club Craft Show
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk, 9am–3pm. 368-6656.
Sunday, Aug. 12
Ocean City Pops - ‘Thine Alone’
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. Salute to the music of Victor Herbert. Hear enchanting show music from Babes in Toyland, Naughty Marietta, Sweethearts and much more presented by Concert Operetta Theater. Conducted by Jose Melendez and featuring Megan Monaghan, Jennifer Holbrook, Jeffrey Halili and Daniel Pantano. Tickets, $15/$10. 525-99300.
Steve Green in Concert
Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave, free admission. 7pm. 399-1915. octabernacle.org.
Monday, Aug. 13 to Aug. 17
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace & Boardwalk. Wacky But Not Tacky these daily events are fun for the entire family. 11am each day. 525-9300.
Tuesday, Aug. 14 to Aug. 16
Ocean City Pops - ‘Cinderella’
Hughes Performing Arts Center, 6th St. and Atlantic Ave. In production with the Ocean City Theatre Company. Don’t miss this delightful Rodgers and Hammerstein show – a treat for the whole family. Tickets Adults $25 Children (12 years and under) $15. 7:30pm. 525-9248.
Friday, Aug. 17
Little Miss Ocean City Pageant
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace & Boardwalk. Scholarship pageant for girls ages 8 – 11. 7pm. $10. 525-9304.
Saturday, Aug. 18
The Music That Made Tony Mart’s Famous
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk – From Bill Haley’s Cometsand Conway Twitty to Springsteen, Mitch Ryder, The Band and The Cruisers. Hear the songs made famous by the Tony Mart All Stars of the ‘50s to the ‘80s. Performed by Bob Campanell, Dr. Bobby Fingers, Howard Isaacson, Danny Eyer, Jimmy “Old School” Glenn and Rich Kurtz. Tickets $20 at the door, 8pm. 653-6069.
Sunday, Aug. 19
Ocean City Pops - Time for Three
Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk. This trio transcends traditional classification with elements of classical, country western, gypsy and jazz idioms forming a blend all its own. $20/$12. 8pm. 525-9300.
Ventriloquist: David Pendleton
Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave. Free admission. 7pm. 399-1915. octabernacle.org
Monday, Aug. 20
From lifeguard races, the completion of the Ocean City-Somers Point Bridge, sand sculpting contests and a themed boat parade, everyone has their favorite summer memory.
“The races are really cool, it’s a really big South Jersey culture thing."
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