It’s too soon to say whether Katie West has a first-place finish “in the bag” at the 2022 National Grocers Association’s Best Bagger National Championship, but the associate at Dorothy Lane Market’s Oakwood store has earned her chance.
West placed first at last summer’s Ohio’s Best Bagger Competition, which qualified her for today’s competition. It marks her second time at nationals after she bested 21 contenders to finish second in 2020 in San Diego.
“You were moving like you were a human Avenger … like you were Captain Marvel,” Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, emcee for the event, told the DLM employee following the 2020 competition.
West competes in Las Vegas at 5:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. our time — and will find out her placing later Monday. A group of fellow DLM employees, including Dorothy Lane Market’s CEO, Norman Mayne, will make the trip to Vegas in a grand show of support.
“They made T-shirts,” West said. “Norman’s granddaughter made them for us, they’re so fun. They’re red for Ohio colors and they say ‘Best from the Midwest’ on them.”
Still a high school student when she began her DLM career, West is now working her way through college at Wright State University studying violin performance and music education.
“DLM is full of so many supportive individuals … I just feel very lucky to be able to still continue to work here through all of my schooling,” West said. “I’m excited just to have this opportunity and to represent Dorothy Lane.”
Four categories on a scoresheet that are graded by judges determine a bagger’s score in the competition. West will need to beat nine other competing baggers in speed, weight distribution, technique and appearance — or attitude and style — in order to take home the trophy.
“You have like this whole array of items in front of you and you have three bags, and you have to get everything in those bags in that amount of time,” West said. “So in those like 53 seconds, if you want to get all 10 of those speed points, you have to try to make sure that every single bag is as close to the same weight as possible.”
The first National Grocers Association contest was held in 1987 in Dallas, featuring two contestants and former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw as the emcee. Since then, it has grown into an annual event that includes as many as 25 statewide bagging contest winners.
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