PHOTO: The “Smiling Nine.”
The “smiling nine,” the quick thinking, fast-handed, employees representing Hy-Vee at Friday’s Iowa Grocery Industry Association’s Best Bagger contest, gave Fareway all it could handle. But in the end, Tim Hannan, of Fareway, took first-place, outlasting second place Matt May of Windsor Heights; third place Matt Munstermann of Des Moines No. 3; and fourth place Ashley Webb of Altoona.
“It was a lot of fun, and I’m very happy about the results,” said Matt May, who earned $250 for second place in his first time competing at IGIA’s bagger contest.
For a moment it seemed like Hy-Vee was finally going to knock Fareway off of its paper-or-plastic perch when it got three of the five finalists in the championship round, but the advantage in numbers wasn’t enough to hold off Hannan, who became Fareway’s 17th best bagger in 18 years.
Seventeen baggers from Hy-Vee, Fareway and Dahl’s competed this year in front of a crowd of nearly 400 best bagger fans and spectators. Contestants had to bag identical grocery orders consisting of everything from eggs and bread to celery, cans of soup and light bulbs. Each bagger was evaluated on speed, technique (the ability to arrange groceries correctly within the bags), weight distribution, and style and attitude, defined as “presenting a neat appearance, politeness and conveying a customer-oriented attitude.”
As the winner, Hannan will represent the state of Iowa in the national best bagger competition in Las Vegas. For earning third and fourth place Munstermann and Webb joined May in the money earning $150 and $100 respectively.
“I think I might consider retirement after a showing like this,” May joked as he visited with his wife, Meghan, and his mother, Janice, who were cheering him on with his young daughter and baby son.
Let’s hope he gives Fareway another run next year.
The nine helpful smiles who competed today were:
- Thomas Bryan - Ankeny
- Bradley Martin - Centerville
- Chris Johnson - Algona
- Craig Manatt - Marshalltown
- Philip Grout - Ankeny
- Jeff McCollum - Altoona
- Matt May - Windsor Heights
- Matt Munstermann - Des Moines No. 3
- Ashley Webb - Altoona
LEFT PHOTO: Ashley Webb of Altoona jumps out to a fast start during the final round of the championship heat which required the baggers to use reusable bags.
RIGHT PHOTO: Phil Grout of Ankeny, grabs the eggs first as his preliminary heat begins at the IGIA Best Bagger competition.