SEASIDE - Both the winners at the Seaside Sand Sculpture and Beach Festival had to rebuild their sculptures ... after they broke.
"I had a dragon and a knight and I lost it all," said Barry Swires, who won the master's contest this past weekend. "I looked at what was left after my collapse and there was a trunk sticking up there."
Swires, who owns a drywall business in Kelso, Wash., also carves snow, ice, plaster, wood and pumpkins.
"I like to say anything that will stand still long enough," he said.
Jeff Strong, winner of the semi-pro contest, built a dragon eating a sandcastle from a broken archway.
"The guy was building the sandcastle and the dragon came along and you see the shovel in his hand as he's being eaten," Strong said.
Strong, a computer programmer for the University of Puget Sound, said he uses palette knives, a bamboo stick, trowel and drinking straw for his sculpting; Swires used masonry and cake decorating tools.
The festival included a climbing wall, inflatable slide, a general sand castle competition and a sand castle-building class taught by Bert Adams, who has been a full-time professional sand sculptor for nine years. Adams, who has raised $300,000 for charity through sand sculpting events, helped administer the competition.
"We have better sand and we give better prizes, it's cheaper to enter here," said Adams, comparing the Seaside competition to ones elsewhere.
He said prizes totaled $2,700; hotels and some meals were provided by local sponsors.
Ed Thatcher from the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, which ran the event, said it was a success for two reasons. "Without our sponsors we would not have an event," he said. "Without our volunteers, we don't have anything."
Along with the judged awards, there was a people's choice award, which Strong also won for the semi-pro competition. The master's award went to Brent Terry, winner of the world sand sculpting championships at Harrison Hot Springs in Canada.
Terry tied for fourth place in the regular competition, which with five masters competing was an insult, he said.
"You tied for being a loser," he said.