The City of Cassville staff lost a total of 216 pounds by participating in the city's second weight-loss challenge. Over half of the staff members competed for the title of Cassville Biggest Loser this fall.
"We knew the holidays were coming and the staff wanted to do the weight-loss competition again," said Mike Hayslip, city administrator. "The competition was only 11 weeks this time because we wanted to finish before the Thanksgiving holiday. That would have been too hard."
The city staff held its first Biggest Loser contest between January and March of this year. Although participants were charged the same $25 entry fee, the staff incorporated several new ideas to make the fall contest more challenging.
"The red team and the blue team each had a secret player," said Hayslip. "This added mystery to the contest. We knew the secret player could either hurt or help the team."
Mayor Tracy Holle served as the secret player for the red team and City Clerk Kelly Paul was the blue team's mystery participant. Each week, Holle and Paul entered false numbers into the weigh-in charts for themselves, which helped motivate the players.
"One week we would make it look like they were tied," said Holle. "The next week we would put one team up higher than the other and the following week we would switch it."
On Nov. 19, Holle and Paul conducted the final weigh-ins and calculated the results of the team competition.
"When we saw the results were were like, 'Oh, no,'" said Holle. "We couldn't believe it."
The red team lost four more total pounds than the blue team, but the entire competition was based on percentage of weight lost. When the results were tallied, Holle and Paul discovered that both the red and the blue team had lost 6.3 percent of their starting team weights.
"The red team was down 1.1 percent last week," said Hayslip. "We lost 26 pounds in the last week and thought that would ensure we won."
At the beginning of the second weight-loss challenge, the Biggest Loser Committee, which consisted of Hayslip, Paul, Holle and Finance Officer Darelyn Cooper, decided that the winning team would receive a day-trip to Branson.
"We thought the Branson trip would give everybody an opportunity to get out and be together," said Hayslip. "We've decided everyone will get to go to Branson since the teams tied. We'll have to schedule it on a Saturday or something."
The city staff members participated in a variety of activities that helped them lose the large amount of weight. Some staff members increased their exercise levels and others concentrated on changing their diets.
Public works director Jeff Stockton, who won both the spring and fall Biggest Loser competitions, traded his car for a bicycle and peddled the one-mile trek between his home and city hall each day. Stockton and parks foreman Kenny Schieler also walked nearly five and a half miles on Saturday and Sunday of each week.
"I either rode or walked two-plus miles each day and then I did another five on Saturday and Sunday with Kenny," said Stockton. "I also did 200 crunches and several push-ups each night."
Stockton's hard work has paid off. He has lost over 50 pounds since he began participating in the first Biggest Loser contest in January.
"I'm a gamer, and I love a challenge," said Stockton. "For my height, I am supposed to weigh between 177 and 195 pounds and now I'm right in the middle, 184."
Stockton's enthusiasm for the contest rubbed off on his co-worker and fellow teammate, Schieler, who achieved second place in the weight-loss competition. Schieler lost 32 pounds during the fall competition, which was only one pound less than the number Stockton lost.
"Jeff kept me going," said Schieler. "Last time, I lost some weight, but I gained it all back in the last four weeks. This time, he kept me motivated."
Stockton, who won $259.20, and Schieler, who received $108 during the competition, both plan to use their winnings for special trips.
Schieler's hard work pushed Cooper, who achieved second place in the spring competition, down one notch, but she still came in third during the recent weight-loss competition.
"I've lost 39 pounds since Jan. 1," said Cooper. "It's hard to get motivated on your own, but when you have a whole team participating, it is a lot easier. It makes you more motivated. You don't want to let them down."
Cooper burned her weight off by using a cabbage soup diet and increasing her nutrition level through Weight Watchers. The diet changes earned Cooper $64.80.
"I really haven't thought about how I will use the money," said Cooper. "I will probably just add it to the money I'm saving for Christmas."
The cash winnings were collected through the contest entry fees and penalty fees that contestants were charged for gaining weight. Contestants were required to pay 50 cents for each pound gained at the weekly weigh-ins.
"I want to congratulate everybody for their hard work," said Holle. "It has been quite a competition."
Other city staff members who participated in the fall weight-loss challenge were Hayslip, Steve Henderson, Mike Ratcliff, Bill Watkins, Don Bennett, Paul Duncan, Tyson Getman, Larry Roller, Donnie Privett, Jennifer Privett and Tina Rasmussen.