Harrisburg bagger goes back-to-back

Courtesy photo Elijah Schipper, center, an employee of the Fareway Store in Harrisburg, claimed his second consecutive Best Bagger Competition at this year’s S.D. State Fair. On the left is Kristen Murray from Fair City Foods in Huron, while Nathan Sanderson, executive director of the event host S.D. Retailers Association is on the right.

HURON — Returning champion Elijah Schipper from Fareway Stores in Harrisburg took the top prize at the South Dakota Best Bagger Competition on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the S.D. State Fair.

Hosted by the South Dakota Retailers Association and sponsored by Associated Wholesale Grocers, NW French & Associates, and Prairie Farms, seven contestants from across the state went head-to-head to compete for the title of South Dakota’s Best Bagger.

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

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

As the top prize winner, Schipper received $500 cash and an expenses-paid trip to compete at the National Grocers Association’s National Competition in Las Vegas, where he has the chance to win $10,000.

Kristen Murray from Fair City Foods in Huron took home second place and $200.

“It was a great competition today,” Schipper stated on his back-to-back win.

“It was good to see all the people that showed out; it was just as fun as last year, and I’m looking forward to going back to Vegas!”

In addition to Schipper and Murray, other participants included Brian Kalenda of Buche Foods Gregory; Quenton Walls of Coborn’ Huron; Daniel Jones of Murdo Family Foods; Brayden Kellough of Buche Foods Sisseton, and Andrew Dixson of Buche Foods Oacoma.

Each received a $100 cash prize.