General Justin at Operation Easter Basket (copy)

SERIOUS BUSINESS. Justin Rudd delegates at the Operation Easter Basket assemble event at Bay Shore Church last year, explaining which items go in which baskets.

Long Beach's own version of "The Biggest Loser" comes back next week as Long Beach Losers starts Wednesday, Sept. 4.

This is the 13th annual weight loss contest, sponsored and put on by Justin Rudd and the Community Action Team (CAT). People looking for motivation to lose weight join teams of five and weigh in every week for 10 weeks, with those losing the most weight as a percentage of the starting weight winning cash prizes.

And if that's not enough excitement to start September, the 12th annual "Say Cheese Long Beach" digital photo contest period is Sept. 1-8. To be in the running for cash prizes, pictures must be taken in the seven-day period, and must be shot within the boundaries of Long Beach.

At least $1,000 in prizes will be given out in the photo contest for the best depictions of Long Beach life. The winners will be revealed Sept. 28 at a reception at Bay Shore Church. This contest also is produced by Rudd and CAT. Contestants register when they upload their pictures at Go to that website for specific rules.

Last year, Rudd said about 150 photographers uploaded 500+ images. A total of $1,000 in prize money will be distributed.

The larger event (pun intended) is Long beach Losers. The weight loss challenge is expected to attract between 200 and 300 people looking to find the motivation to drop some pounds over 10 weeks.

Each Wednesday morning and evening until mid-November,people will be lining up in front of the Belmont Athletic Club to check weights. There's a fairly complicated formula to determine how much people pay each week (show up, and lose weight, and there's no payment), but everyone pays a $60 entry fee to start.

Teams of five people compete for the big cash prizes, and Rudd urges everyone to recruit their own teams. But there also are prizes for individuals, and people without teams will be put together to compete in that challenge as well.

The prize money is considerable — as much as $40,000 total. The prize money is directly related to the number of people entering the contest. To sign up in advance, go to

CAT is a nonprofit group — Rudd calls himself Chief Inspiration Officer — that produces around 15 events a year ranging from the Bulldog Beauty Contest to the $1,000 Kids Spelling Bee. Its primary fundraiser is the Long Beach Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. Signups have begun for that event as well, at

Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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