Big loser wins by one pound

by Sara Hacking, Staff Writer Dave Cuppy is one big loser. And he's all smiles. Cuppy was crowned Wadena's Biggest Loser Saturday after losing 98 pounds since the contest began March 3. He gained a $5,000 grand prize for his efforts. "This is inc...

by Sara Hacking,

Staff Writer

Dave Cuppy is one big loser. And he's all smiles. Cuppy was crowned Wadena's Biggest Loser Saturday after losing 98 pounds since the contest began March 3.

He gained a $5,000 grand prize for his efforts.

"This is incredible," Cuppy said after receiving the check.


"It's amazing, I'm so proud of him," said his wife, Coral Cuppy.

He started the contest at 398 pounds. A fraction of a percentage, which equated to about one pound of weight loss, separated Cuppy from second place finisher Bethany Supper. Cuppy lost 24.62 percent of his overall weight. Supper shed 24.44 percent after starting the competition at 180 pounds and finishing at 136. They shared a hug after the finale and repeated to one another, "We did good, we did good."

During the final days before the weigh-in, Cuppy had to eat like a sparrow and dehydrate himself in order to compete with the newly thin lady competitors, he said. He began the contest in first place but gave up that position for most of the competition. He used the leaders' success as motivation for his weight loss efforts.

"All I could see was Elaine Downer's face every time I was exercising," he said with a smile at his competitor.

Downer was an early leader in the competition.

The top six contestants lost at least 20 percent of their body weight during the competition. They were each given an opportunity to share some thoughts with the audience after Cuppy was announced as the biggest loser.

Supper emphasized the relationships that have been formed among the contestants.

"What is in here right now--we're like a community," she said. "We know everything about everyone."


She thanked the people who shared kind words on the Wadena's Biggest Loser online forum. She also expressed appreciation to the church and community. If it wasn't for the competition she wouldn't have been able to lose the weight, she said.

Supper was emotional and shared a long embrace with her husband, Mark Supper, when she returned to the sanctuary seating.

The contest is the brainchild of Wadena Evangelical Church. The church organized the event but has not pushed religious ideas. The finale, however, provided the Rev. Jeff Heisler with an opportunity to share a spiritual message with the contestants.

"You've been examining the labels on the back of you food, you pay attention to what you wear," he said to the weight-conscious contestants. "The thing is, do we closely scrutinize [if] there is a God and who is he?"

Heisler asked the audience to consider several verses of scripture and invited them to a special Doubt Night event.

Several of the contestants shared how the contest has impacted their faith.

For Cuppy, a fellow competitor served as a spiritual model.

"I learned a lot more about my walk with the Lord thanks to Cindy's example," he said referring to Cindy Lanz who led the competition the last few weeks.


Lanz has learned to trust God to know when she is hungry and really needs to eat, she said. Prayer was an important part of Lanz's strategy. She has been praying for everyone in the competition, she said.

"I wanted us all to succeed and have the bodies God wanted us to have and to have the health God wanted us to have," she said.

Downer said that at the beginning of the contest she really needed to win the money. But on a trip to her home in Canada she realized there were other priorities than winning a prize.

"I thought you know what I don't need ... the money," she said. "My health is more important."

She lost 59 pounds during the competition, she said. And would like to lose 50 more pounds.

Cuppy plans to continue shedding pounds throughout the year. He will also serve as an inspiration to his daughter in her weight loss efforts.

Heisler said his hope and prayer is that the contestants continue with their weight loss success. The competitors lost a combined total of 1,195 pounds during the contest.


The braid controversy

A haircut created a minor controversy at the end of the competition.

Due to the close race, top contestants were told they must wear the same kind of clothing for the final weigh-in that they wore for the initial weigh-in.

Contestant Elaine Downer began the contest with a thick braid, but got a haircut during the competition. Some were concerned the significant haircut might affect her weight loss percentage. Downer solved the problem, however, by placing the ponytail of cut hair in her pocket during the final weigh-in.

Top 10

These are the top 10 contestants and their total percentage of weight loss:

First place: Dave Cuppy - 24.62%

Second place: Bethany Supper - 24.44%


Third place: Elaine Downer - 23.23%

Fourth place: Bob Kaumans - 22.56%

Fifth place: Cindy Lanz - 22.42%

Sixth place: Shawn Rowe - 20%

Seventh place: Dee Skogen - 18.23%

Eighth place: Randy Beaver - 17.93%

Ninth place: Judy Beaver - 16.85%

Tenth place: Cindy Hockert - 15.92%


For a complete list of Biggest Loser contestants and before and after photos visit the Wadena Evangelical Church Web site at .

To share comments with Wadena's Biggest Loser contestants visit .

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