Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Laguna Beach PD performs at best level ever in Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup

Last weekend, and for the 15th time, the Laguna Beach Police Department fielded a team in the annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup relay race. But 2024 was different; it marked the first time the department, competing in the 150 or fewer officers category, finished sixth and was subsequently “mugged” at the finish line – and that’s a good thing.

Teams finishing in the top tier of their category are provided with commemorative beer mugs, thereby mugged, signifying their top-tier finish position.

The team was comprised of 20 runners, all sworn personnel, and supported by 11 significant others and various other department personnel.

LBPD covered the 120-mile course in 16 hours, 42 minutes and 6 seconds, with each participant covering a distance of somewhere between four and seven miles, usually averaging between five to seven. Starting at 12 p.m. in Baker on Saturday (March 23), the team’s final leg, appropriately run by Chief Jeff Calvert, crossed the finish line at The Rio in Vegas early Sunday morning at around 5 a.m.

It was the team’s best time ever by more than an hour, with every runner significantly improving year-over-year.

Sergeant Fred Yeilding, the team’s captain and organizer of all logistics, said, “I could not be more proud of this team and our top-half finish. I look forward to improving our time and finishing in the top 3 next year! I also want to thank all of the volunteers and sponsors who made this year the best yet.”

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Photos courtesy of LBPCF

The back of the team shirt tells the story

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(L-R) LBPCF Board Member Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, Officer Jason Ross, Corporal Ryan Radel, Corporal Victor Centeno, Officer Brendan Rowland and Amy Calvert

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Team Captain Sergeant Fred Yeilding (146) with a little alone time

Chief Calvert added, “This has been a spectacular year for the Laguna Beach PD in the Baker to Vegas Challenge. I was honored to be part of the team. Every one of the 20 officers was integral to the win, our best effort to date.”

Team expenses to participate were supported by a matching grant from the Laguna Beach Police and Community Foundation.

Sponsors included: Rivian, Melin, Tuttle Click, Laguna Beach Construction and Builders, Raw Elements, Alohana, Pro Baller, Monster Energy Cares, the Scott and Deanne O’Brien Foundation, Alessa Chef Alessandro Pirozzi, nutrition company HVMN, Open Water, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, the Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union and the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association.

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(L-R) Corporal Tony Manzano, Sergeant Randy Bitonti, Sergeant Fred Yeilding and Officer Jon Greenwalt await their turn

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The team!

Glenn Gray, president of the Laguna Beach Police and Community Foundation, noted, “We are devoted to supporting the well-being of our officers, professional staff and their families. Much of that comes through scholarships and emergency assistance grants, but the Baker to Vegas Challenge provides us an opportunity to promote team-building and camaraderie within the force. It’s been a privilege to work with the race team and volunteers on this effort.”

• • •

Laguna Beach artist Andrew Myers will be hosting a book signing for author Terry Moogan on Thursday, April 4 (6 p.m.) at his gallery Andrew Myers Art, 224 Forest Ave., followed by a reception with music at Breeze & Brew, 237 Ocean Ave.

Moogan’s book, an autobiography of his life in crime, is titled Liverpool Bank Robber To Hollywood Butler. It’s the story of a kid born into poverty, thrust into a life in crime as a young adult, sentenced to an 18-year prison term, who escapes and works as a butler on the QEII cruise ship for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

According to a publicists, the story further includes “Moogan (then) entering the glamorous world of Hollywood as a butler to the world’s biggest stars. His first client was none other than Clint Eastwood, which marked the beginning of an illustrious career as a Hollywood Butler, where he later went on to work with George Segal and Max Factor.

“He hobnobbed with Hollywood elites, including Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, and even cooked for Oprah Winfrey and Joan Rivers upon personal request.

“He was in such demand that he even turned down jobs with stars, including Mickey Rooney and Marlon Brando and he could pick whom he wanted to work with.”

It sounds like a must read.

• • •

In this week’s Fair Game Laguna Beach podcast with Tom Johnson, Mayor Sue Kempf talks about this year’s campaign season and the issue of contributions, as well as an update on the city’s microgrid system and a look to next week’s State of the City Mayor’s Luncheon.


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