October 3, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 24

Cheney Trading's Miller hopes to 'bag' a championship

Cheney Trading Company customers take notice.

Next time courtesy clerk Mel Miller asks you if you prefer paper or plastic, appreciate the skill and technique that it took to get your eggs and bread bagged quickly and safely and throw a good luck his way.

That is because Miller, along with an estimated 12 courtesy clerks from across the state of Washington, will compete for the best bagger title in the Washington Food Industry Association’s Best Bagger State Championship Oct. 22 at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane.

Miller, who has been working at the Cheney Trading Company for two months, was a little more than surprised with his selection for the competition, as he admittingly had never heard of the bagger state championship before he started working at the Trading Co.

“Well I was a little shocked,” Miller said. “I didn’t think I would make it, I have only been bagging for two months. I was just doing my job and my boss just told me about being selected.”

The 19-year old Rosalia High School graduate will compete against clerks representing QFC, Safeway, Yokes Fresh Market, Rosauers, Wrays Food and Drug, Stormans, IGA, Haggen/Top Foods, Town and Country Markets and also Metropolitan Markets in the three round bagging competition.

Each contestant will compete in two rounds with the top three baggers advancing to the final round. In the first round the contestants will be required to fill two paper bags while the second round contestants will be required to fill two reusable bags.

The competitors will be given a number of random items such as cereal, eggs, pretzels, bread, soup, pickles, etc. and will be graded upon their speed, technique, weight distribution, attitude and appearance by judges representing the vendors Bundl, International Paper, Employers Northwest and Charlie’s Produce.

“We have a combination of several different judges,” Kim Goldberg, the communications manager at WFIA said. “On the stage we’ll have nine different judges that perform different duties and then two scoring judges as well.”

Miller, who said that speed is definitely his strongest attribute, is waiting for the WFIA to send him bags and some other additional items so he can begin his training for the event.

“All I have been doing is hands on jobs at work,” Miller said.

The winner of the event will receive an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas to compete in the 2014 National Best Bagger competition along with a $1,500 cash prize.

The winner of the national competition will receive a $10,000 cash prize and plenty of media attention as last years winner, Andrew Borracchini of Metropolitan Markets in Seattle, appeared on the David Letterman show.

The event will start at 3 p.m. and there is no admission fee.

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