The "big guns" at Geneva Steel may have had a great time stuffing themselves with turkey and pumpkin pie, but the following weeks promise to bring slimmer meals now that the countdown is on for the Geneva weight-loss challenge and with it the promise of big cash awards.

Geneva Steel President Joe Cannon said, "I think this is a tough time for all of us. Thanksgiving was our last binge. Now we are going up for our final push."The challenge came in September when Cannon and top executives Robert Grow, Bud Patten and Wayne Nelson made a wager with employees that they could lose more weight as a team than any other four-member team between Sept. 6 and Dec. 23.

To make dieting easier, Cannon promised $2,000 to the team that loses the most weight. In October, when participants started giving up on the challenge, the company added incentives to keep them motivated.

The second-place team will win $1,000, third place will win $500 and the team that loses the greatest percentage of its original weight wins $1,000.

That ups the winnings to a total of $4,500, but Cannon said it is worth it because employees will be healthier and happier, which results in a more productive work force.

The "big gun" team has already lost 100 total pounds, Cannon said. Nelson and Grow have lost the most, with 35 and 27 pounds respectively.

Cannon said he has hit a plateau, but will make a final effort to lose some additional poundage.

"Four of us executives thought we should lose some weight," he said. "It's been a great thing. We watch each other and all of us are eating less. There are some amazing stories around here."