2022 state grocery bagging competition

COURTESY PHOTOS Above: Best Bagger Contestants participated in the second annual competition at the South Dakota State Fair. Back row, from left, are guest competitor James Quiram, Elijah Schipper, Fareway Harrisburg, Josh Siefert, Coborns Huron, Nicolaus Nelson, Cahoys General Store Bonesteel, and Roland W. Pickner Sr., Buche Foods Oacoma; and in front, Mary Peters, Buche Foods Wagner, Henry Jones, Hy-Vee 57th St. Sioux Falls, Taylor Braun, Springs Food Market Wessington Springs, guest competitor Brianne, and defending champion Natasha Artz, Fair City Foods Huron. Below: Top three finalists in the Best Bagger competition are, from left, Mary Peters, Wagner, second; Elijah Schipper, Harrisburg, first; and Natasha Artz, Huron, third.

Elijah Schipper from Fareway Stores in Harrisburg took the top prize at the annual “South Dakota Best Bagger” competition hosted by the South Dakota Retailers Association at the State Fair on Saturday, Sept. 3.

Sponsored by Associated Wholesale Grocers and NW French & Associates, the annual Best Bagger Competition featured 10 different contestants from across the state. The quickest hands in the grocery business went head-to-head during this exciting, fast-paced competition.

“The Best Bagger Competition is always great fun for everyone involved,” said Retailers Association Exec. Dir. Nathan Sanderson. “We had some impressive contestants, a rowdy crowd this year, and we can’t wait to cheer on Elijah at the National competition in February.”

All contestants bagged identical grocery orders and were judged on speed, bag building technique, uniform bag weight, and personal attitude and appearance.

Schipper was the South Dakota Best Bagger Competition winner. He received $200 cash and an expenses-paid trip to compete at the National Grocers Association’s National Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada, for a chance to win $10,000. Mary Peters from Buche Foods in Wagner took home second place and $150, and defending champion Natasha Artz from Fair City Foods in Huron was awarded $100 and third place.

Expressing excitement in his win, Schipper quotes, “It was a great competition. I had fun with all the people and looking forward to going to Nationals!”

Watch for the annual Best Bagger Competition at the 2023 South Dakota State Fair.

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