When winning is losing: Weight-loss challenge ends in tie

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Gravy and biscuits and boxes of doughnuts were orchestrated pitfalls for contestants of this challenge, but the victors slimmed down in spite of it all.

A weight-loss challenge that waged for four months among Clovis Municipal Schools, the Clovis Police Department and a few other organizations ended 10 days ago in a tie.

Teams from Gattis Junior High and Mesa Elementary schools were the victors, with an average weight loss of 13 pounds, according to the coordinator of the challenge, Gattis Junior High School counselor Bob Pullings.

Mesa Elementary has been crowned the official winner of the challenge, Pullings said. A prize for the winning team, provided at the expense of the last-place team, Bella Vista Elementary, has yet to be negotiated, Pullings said.

“Our staff is excited and thrilled,” Mesa Elementary Principal Jan Cox said.

The challenge attracted 302 participants, who split into 17 teams. Shed was a total of 2,487 pounds.

“There were no set rules,” said Pullings, who lost 10 pounds. “There were teachers who would walk during their planning period in the hallways. Others told me they had joined a gym. Others consciously gave up desserts and sweets.”

Some teams attempted to raise their chances of success through temptation, Pulling said. A dozen doughnuts were purchased by the Clovis Police Department and placed strategically inside Gattis Junior High. In response, Pullings and his team hand-delivered gravy, biscuits and sausage to the police department.

“It was all done in a spirit of fun,” Pullings said.

The race to slim down, Pullings said, will live on.

The counselor said the challenge, which caught on through a series of e-mails, will be issued again after next year after the holidays, with an effort to recruit more businesses for the challenge.