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Hundreds of pounds lost in 'Battle of the Bulge'
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One man lost over 70 pounds during the eight-week Battle of the Bulge 2014, conducted by Club One Fitness.
From Jan. 15 to March 15, 143 people took the challenge and lost a total of 689 pounds, said Karen Zager, owner of the Great Bend health facility.
At an awards ceremony last Saturday, Zager presented $2,014 in prize money for this year’s Battle, and in celebration of the club’s 40th anniversary. People entered the competition in teams, but the club also formed three teams from individuals who wanted to compete but weren’t affiliated with a team. One such group, known at the Men’s Team, won the prize for greatest percentage of inches lost, with a collective 70.5-inch overall reduction. Its members were John Sullivan, Chad Somers, Joe Ashbaugh and Mike Minton.
The grand prize of $1,014 went to the Starvin’ & Cranky team, for the greatest percentage of weight loss. Members of the team lost a total of 110.89 pounds. They were Shelly and Bill Bullard, Kim Bainbridge and Kelly DesLauries. Bill Bullard also won the individual prize for most weight loss, with 72.8 pounds.
The awards ceremony and banquet were held at the Great Bend Knights of Columbus, one week after the final weigh-in. Zager said the Battle of the Bulge and its gala will become an annual event in the future. Other plans for the club include 10-day “fat-blasting boot camps.”
To celebrate the club’s 40th anniversary, Zager introduced 40-year members Ed Ludges and Art  Karst, as well as Virginia Klepper, one of the first employees at the “Spa Health Club” started by Zager’s father, Martin Casey, in 1974.
The club name was later changed to Town & Country Racquet Club and eventually to Club One Fitness.
“It seems like we’re all family at the gym,” Zager said, as she shared some insights imparted to the staff at a recent in-service training.
“Success is not convenient, but does lead to a life of confidence,” she said. “It requires changes and decisions that might take you out of your comfort zone.” She said many successful “losers” make regular appointments with themselves, scheduling gym time into their weekly routines.
Zager showed a video featuring old photos and history of the club. Video clips from two celebrities were shown. Congratulating the club on 40 years of health and fitness in the community were Danny Cahill, winner of Season 8 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” and Chris Powell from ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss.”