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Beating out competitors from across the nation, Andrew Borracchini of Metropolitan Market at Admiral in Seattle, Wash., has won the 2013 National Grocers Association (NGA) Best Bagger Championship, sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Pringles, Bunzl Distribution, and Pan-Oston Company.
Taylor Cantrell of Dillons Food Stores in Wichita, Kan., was awarded the second place prize of $5,000 in the national bagging showdown, which is now in its 27th year.
Competitors from 23 states participated in the Best Bagger contest, which was held on the opening day of the NGA Show, Feb. 10, 2013, at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Emceed by Phil Lempert and broadcasted live across the country on UStream, former NFL tight end Daniel Graham was also on hand during the contest to help motivate the baggers and excite the audience, thanks to the support of Tebo Store Fixtures. Graham played an integral part in taking the New England Patriots to victory in three Super Bowls.
The competition is the culminating event of a year-long nationwide program in which the top grocery baggers in the country compete for prizes and the title of "America's Best Bagger." Contestants are judged on speed, bag-building technique, weight distribution between bags, and style, attitude, and appearance. The 2013 contestants used three reusable bags during the preliminary and final rounds, during which they bagged 30 to 35 items.
As the winner, Andrew takes home "bagging rights" as well as a $10,000 grand prize, the coveted "Golden Grocery Bag" trophy and the Pan-Oston "Best Bagger Golden Lane," a special checkout stand that will be installed in his store.
The contest awarded a total of $23,750 in cash prizes to contestants.
Other best bagger winners, all of whom won $1,000 each, include:
Third Place - James Wilmot, ShopRite of Hunterdon County, N.J.
Fourth Place - Nicholas Lewis, Food City, Abingdon, Va.
Fifth Place - Daniel Busquets, Kowalski's Market, Eagan, Minn.
"Congratulations are in order to Andrew," said Peter J. Larkin, NGA’s president/CEO. “He is a prime example of the thousands of baggers across the country who work tirelessly every day to provide exceptional customer service and pride in their jobs."