Newport safety agencies duel at the beach for charity

Newport Beach police officers, firefighters and lifeguards faced off Saturday morning for the city's first obstacle course and sandcastle contest to raise money for charity.

Officer Chris Kimble came up with the idea as a way to support the Baker to Vegas police relay race, which will be held March 25-26, and the Ben Carlson Memorial & Scholarship Foundation, which was formed to honor Ben Carlson, a longtime Newport Beach lifeguard who died during a rescue in big surf in July 2014.

The foundation funds two college scholarships each year and a host of other ocean-related educational programs.

Saturday's teams had to get sand from a specific area of the beach and make their way through an obstacle course before they could start on their sandcastles. After 30 minutes, members of the Carlson foundation board picked their favorite castle.

"There's a trophy, but basically it's more bragging rights than anything else," Kimble said.

Kimble said he hopes the event will lead to more collaboration and communication among the three departments.

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