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The nation’s top grocery store baggers are heading to Las Vegas next week to compete in the 2011 National Grocers Association Best Bagger Championship, presented by ConAgra Foods.
The competition will be held Feb. 14 at the Mirage as part of the NGA’s annual conference.
The final competitors, who beat out hundreds of other baggers from their respective states, will be rated on speed, bag-building technique, weight distribution between bags, style, attitude and appearance. A combination of jars, cans, boxes and loaves of bread will pose the challenge for each contestant as he or she races against the clock to bag the items the best way possible. After positive feedback following last year’s event, eco-friendly, reusable bags will be used for the second year in a row.
The grand-prize winner will receive $10,000, the second-place contestant will earn $5,000 and the third- through fifth-place winners will net $1,000 each.
“These competitors are hard-working, young professionals from locally owned grocery stores in each state,” said Doug Knudsen, ConAgra president of sales. “They are great examples of how many grocery stores are committed to customer service and this competition is a fun way to recognize and reward these baggers for their accomplishments.”
Twenty-one states are sending their top performers to vie for the title of the nation’s best bagger. Here are this year’s competitors:
Alabama: Thang Nguyen, Publix Super Markets Inc.
California: Cody Calhoun, Nugget Market Inc.
Georgia: Roland Mattox, Quality Foods of Commerce Inc.
Indiana: Dave Smith, Martin’s Super Markets
Iowa: Jeremy Mescher, Fareway Stores Inc.
Kentucky: Brice Harris, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. (Food City)
Massachusetts: Bryan Cramond, Stop and Shop
Michigan: Mina Eskander, Martin’s Super Markets
Minnesota: Matt Medley, Lunds Food Holdings Inc.
Missouri: Scott Hall, RPCS (Price Cutter)
New Jersey: James Wilmott, Shop Rite of Hunterdon County
New York: Constance Gaines, D’Agostino Supermarket
Ohio: Tom Bergman, Dorothy Lane Market
Pennsylvania: Kayla Wilson, Giant Food Stores LLC
Rhode Island: Bonny Pride, Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc.
Tennessee: Colby Morgan, Kroger
Utah: Andrew Hadlock, Macey’s Inc.
Vermont: Krystal Smith, Hannaford Supermarket
Virginia: Dylan Belcher, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. (Food City)
Washington: Jessica Lewis, Yoke’s Fresh Market
Wisconsin: Stephanie Teteak, Larry’s Piggly Wiggly
NGA represents the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. Omaha-based ConAgra Foods Inc. markets brands including Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, Peter Pan and Reddi-wip.