Fareway’s Trevor DeForest Wins Iowa’s Best Bagger Title

DeForest finishes first at the Iowa Grocery Industry Association’s 30th annual grocery bagging competition

Photo Left to right: Sean Fitzsimmons, Fareway, Boone, places fourth; Kevin Simmons, Fareway, Maquoketa, receives second place; Trevor DeForest, Fareway, Maquoketa, wins the 2017 Iowa Best Bagger Competition; and Matthew Snook, Fareway, Evansdale, finishes third.

DES MOINES, Iowa – In a contest to find the best grocery bagger in the state, Trevor DeForest, who works at the Fareway store in Maquoketa, Iowa, came out on top. The Iowa Best Bagger contest was held Friday, August 11, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, where DeForest claimed the Iowa Best Bagger title, a trophy, a $500 cash prize and a trip for two to Las Vegas to compete in the National Best Bagger Contest.

“All of the baggers are good when they get to the state contest, but Trevor led the pack when it came to weight distribution among bags, speed and bag composition. He attained the trifecta of grocery bagging,” said Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, which hosts the event annually at the Iowa State Fair. “Grocery baggers play an important role when it comes to creating a positive shopping experience for customers. Baggers are often the final point of contact and the impression they make can determine whether or not the customer returns to the store.”

Placing second in the Iowa Best Bagger competition was Kevin Simmons, who also works at Fareway in Maquoketa. He received $250. Matthew Snook, who works at the Fareway in Evansdale, won $150 for finishing third. Sean Fitzsimmons of Fareway in Boone placed fourth and took home $100.

DeForest, 35, who grew up in Osceola and currently lives in Maquoketa, will go on to represent Iowa at the 2018 National Grocers Association Best Bagger Contest in Las Vegas, and has a chance to win an additional $10,000. DeForest, who received an Associate’s degree from Des Moines Area Community College will attempt to bring home a seventh national title for Iowa and the first since 2000.

“The whole event was a blast!” DeForest said about competing in the Iowa Best Bagger contest. “The music, the crowd, getting to talk with my competitors back stage. It’s been a great experience. I’d encourage more people to compete.”

DeForest will be making the trip to Las Vegas in February 2018, and says he’s planning to “practice, practice, practice” before he makes the trip. “Competing on the national stage for Iowa is going to be cool. I will do my best to win for my family, my state and for Fareway.”

Before making it to the Iowa Best Bagger competition, DeForest competed against approximately 26 other Fareway baggers in Fareway’s internal qualifying competition. The top seven finishers qualified to compete for Fareway at the State Fair.

DeForest started working for Fareway in Osceola at the age of 14 as a part-time bagger/stocker. Currently he has close to 21 years of bagging experience and works as assistant manager at the Maquoketa store, where his duties still include bagging groceries most days.

A total of 15 individuals qualified to take part in the 2017 Best Bagger event, which celebrated its 30th year at the Iowa State Fair. Contestants bagged identical grocery orders consisting of approximately 35 commonly purchased items into three reusable grocery bags. They were scored and ranked primarily on weight distribution among bags, speed and proper item arrangement.

The top six finishers winnowed from three preliminary heats competed in the final round.

Members of the crowd had a chance to win one of many gift cards for answering grocery industry trivia questions.

Eddie Hatfield, of the Hatfield & McCoy Morning Show (92.5 Nash ICON) emerged victorious from the Celebrity Bagger Contest for the second year in a row. He received a traveling trophy and $250, sponsored by Fareway Stores Inc., for the charity of his choice. Hatfield was joined by challengers Lou Sipolt | CW Iowa Live Morning Show on KCWI-23; Brett McIntyre, WHO-HD Channel 13 meteorologist; Taylor Kanost, We Are Iowa, Local 5 meteorologist; and James Armstrong, the 2016 Iowa Best Bagger Winner, who works at the Prairie Trail Hy-Vee in Ankeny.

Companies sponsoring the 2017 Iowa Best Bagger Contest include the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, title sponsor Coca-Cola, Cylinder Express, Iowa Food and Family Project, and Frito-Lay. Prize sponsors include Hiland Dairy, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Cookies Food Products and PepsiCo. Fareway Stores Inc. provided the celebrity charity donation.

All non-perishable food items used in the competition were donated to the Food Bank of Iowa in Des Moines.

Photo Left to right, front row: Trevor DeForest, Fareway, Maquoketa; Trevor Erb, Fareway, Polk City; Kevin Simmons, Fareway, Maquoketa; Haile Cook, Fareway, Cedar Rapids; and Melissa Box, Hy-Vee, Windsor Heights. Middle row: Debbie Foss, Hy-Vee, West Des Moines; Sean Fitzsimmons, Fareway, Boone; Cole McClintock, Hy-Vee, Ankeny; Kierian Moss, Hy-Vee, Ankeny; and Jacob Gibson, Hy-Vee, Charles City. Back row: Matthew Snook, Fareway, Evansdale; Oscar Rivas, Fareway, Boone; Dwayne Campbell, Hy-Vee, Des Moines; and Kory Rogers, Hy-Vee, Urbandale.

National Best Bagger Champions from Iowa

  • 2000: Mike Mechura (Fareway Stores, Boone, Iowa)
  • 1997: Allen Weimerskirch (Fareway Stores, Creston, Iowa)
  • 1996: Mike Dahm (Fareway Stores, New Hampton, Iowa)
  • 1994: Jeff Stearns (Fareway Stores, Boone, Iowa)
  • 1987: Paul Heffernan (Fareway Stores, Manchester, Iowa)
  • 1986: Paul Heffernan (Fareway Stores, Manchester, Iowa)

Iowa Best Bagger Champions (Since 1995)

  • 2017: Trevor DeForest (Fareway, Maquoketa)
  • 2016: James Armstrong (Hy-Vee, Ankeny)
  • 2015: Dallas Lehman (Hy-Vee, Johnston)
  • 2014: Tyler Miller (Hy-Vee, West Des Moines)
  • 2013: Matthew Munstermann (Hy-Vee, Altoona)
  • 2012: Tim Hannan (Fareway Stores, Des Moines)
  • 2011: Jacob Laursen (Fareway Stores, Cresco, Iowa)
  • 2010: Jeremy Mescher (Fareway Stores, Sheldon, Iowa)
  • 2009: David Kistenmacher (Fareway Stores, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
  • 2008: Brian Beneke (Fareway Stores, Cresco, Iowa)
  • 2007: Aric Reicks (Fareway Stores, Sioux City, Iowa)
  • 2006: Brenda Wygle (Fareway Stores, New Hampton, Iowa)
  • 2005: Dan Klinkenberg (Fareway Stores, Eagle Grove, Iowa)
  • 2004: Tony Haisman (Fareway Stores, Waterloo, Iowa)
  • 2003: Kevin McCormick (Fareway Stores, Ottumwa, Iowa)
  • 2002: Jim Westphalen (Fareway Stores, Clinton, Iowa)
  • 2001: Jeff Kessler (Hy-Vee, Iowa City, Iowa)
  • 2000: Keith Voss (Fareway Stores, Vinton, Iowa)
  • 1999: Mike Mechura (Fareway Stores, Boone, Iowa)
  • 1998: Steve Tielbur (Fareway Stores, Boone, Iowa)
  • 1997: Roger Wirtz (Fareway Stores, Cherokee, Iowa)
  • 1996: Allen Weimerskirch (Fareway Stores, Creston, Iowa)
  • 1995: Mike Dahm (Fareway Stores, New Hampton, Iowa)