Beach blowout brings families to Monte Rio

  • Osha Arthur, 4, tries to catch a water ballon during the water ballon toss contest during the Big Rocky Games in Monte Rio on Saturday, July 5, 2014. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Jacob Mazeau didn't swallow much during the watermelon-eating contest Saturday on the Monte Rio Beach.

Instead, the sixth-grader from San Diego mashed the melon with his teeth, letting juice and red pulp fall onto the picnic table under a black and white canopy on the sun-swept beach, picking up another blue ribbon for his effort.

"It just feels good to win," Mazeau, 11, said moments later, standing with his mom and dad, Gina and Matt Mazeau.

"He wins a lot," Gina Mazeau said, figuring this was Jacob's ninth year in the competition.

The family, with four kids, comes up every year for the Big Rocky Games, Monte Rio's two-day Independence Day celebration. They stay at a summer home in nearby Camp Meeker, owned by the family for more than 100 years.

At midafternoon Saturday, under a cloudless, azure sky and a temperature in the low 80s, families relaxed under umbrellas and sun shelters on the gravel beach, the sweet scent of kettle corn wafting through the air.

In the languid green Russian River, kids swam with all sorts of inflatables and folks paddled canoes and open kayaks.

"Perfect place to be," said Greg Guelvner, tossing a football with J.D.?Ramirez.

They were part of two Petaluma families, nine people in all, attending their second Big Rocky Games.

On tap later in the day were the decorated boat parade and a fireworks show. "It's all good," Guelvner said. "We just like the river."

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