Hy-Vee’s Dwayne Campbell Wins Iowa’s Best Bagger Title

Campbell finishes first at the Iowa Grocery Industry Association’s 31st annual grocery bagging competition.

In a contest to find the best grocery bagger in the state, Dwayne Campbell, who works at the Hy-Vee store at SE 14th Street and Park Avenue in Des Moines, came out on top. The Iowa Best Bagger contest was held Friday, August 10, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, where Campbell claimed the Iowa Best Bagger title, a trophy, a $500 cash prize and a trip for two to San Diego to compete in the National Best Bagger Contest in 2019.

“The Iowa Best Bagger Contest spotlights talented Iowans and the grocery industry in a very positive way by promoting the ethics of hard work and community. All of the baggers did an outstanding job today,” said Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, which hosts the event annually at the Iowa State Fair. “It was one of the closest contests we’ve seen and Dwayne edged out the competition by scoring the highest when it came to weight distribution among bags, speed and bag composition.

“Grocery baggers play an important role when it comes to creating a positive shopping experience for customers.”

Placing second in the Iowa Best Bagger competition was Trevor Erb, who works at Fareway in Storm Lake. He received $250. Matthew Langel, who works at the Fareway in Dubuque, won $150 for finishing third. And, Kevin Simmons of Fareway in Maquoketa placed fourth and took home $100.

Campbell, 31, grew up in West Memphis, Arkansas, and moved to Des Moines at the end of middle school. He graduated from North High School in Des Moines and currently lives and works in Des Moines. Campbell will go on to represent Iowa at the 2019 National Grocers Association Best Bagger Contest in San Diego, and has a chance to win an additional $10,000. He will attempt to bring home an eighth national title for Iowa on the heels of Iowan Trevor DeForest, who claimed the National Best Bagger title earlier this year in Las Vegas.

“The event was a lot of fun.” Campbell said about competing in the Iowa Best Bagger contest. “This was my fourth time competing and I was excited to finally win.”

Campbell started working for Hy-Vee in 2005 in the Chinese food department. He moved upfront to check and bag in 2009. Currently he has nine years of bagging experience and works as assistant manager at the Des Moines store, where his duties still include bagging groceries every day.

A total of 15 individuals from around the state qualified to take part in the 2018 Best Bagger event, which celebrated its 31st 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.

Lou Sipolt | CW Iowa Live Morning Show on KCWI-23 wrangled the Celebrity Bagger title from Eddie Hatfield, of the Hatfield & McCoy Morning Show (92.5 Nash ICON). Sipolt received a traveling plaque and $250, sponsored by Fareway Stores Inc., for the Iowa Wildlife Center in Ames, Iowa. Sipolt was also joined by challengers; Brett McIntyre, WHO-HD Channel 13 meteorologist; Taylor Kanost, We Are Iowa, Local 5 meteorologist; and Trevor DeForest, the 2017 Iowa Best Bagger Winner and 2018 National Best Bagger, who works at the Fareway store in Maquoketa. Each received $100 donation to the charity of his choice for participating, provided by the IGIA.

Companies sponsoring the 2018 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, Keurig Dr Pepper, 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.

Left to right, front row: Dwayne Campbell, Hy-Vee, SE 14th Street and Park Avenue, Des Moines; Jeorgie Smith, Hy-Vee, North Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny; Jacob Gibson, Hy-Vee, Charles City; Tyler Seward, Hy-Vee, MLK Parkway, Des Moines; and Alex Grimes, Fareway, Boone. Middle row: Beau VanGelder, Hy-Vee, Windsor Heights; Matthew Langel, Fareway, Dubuque; Cameron Green, Hy-Vee Drugstore, West Des Moines; Nathan Maiers, Fareway, Dyersville; and Kevin Simmons, Fareway, Maquoketa. Back row: Todd Stone, Hy-Vee, Altoona; Trevor Erb, Fareway, Storm Lake; Ethan Dunn, Price Chopper, Johnston; Bryce Young, Fareway, Huxley; and Cameron Voss, Fareway, Centerville.

Left to right: Kevin Simmons, Fareway, Maquoketa placed fourth. Second place went to Trevor Erb of the Fareway store in Storm Lake. Dwayne Campbell, who works at the Hy-Vee on S.E. 14th Street and Park Avenue in Des Moines, captured this year's Iowa Best Bagger title. Matthew Langel, Fareway, Dubuque, placed third.

2018 Iowa Best Bagger Dwayne Campbell, Hy-Vee, S.E. 14th Street and Park Avenue, Des Moines.