Geneva Steel President Joe Cannon could see the headline: "Geneva Steel loses a lot," it would read.

Cannon was actually thrilled about it, too.He wasn't referring to lost ore, however; he was referring to lost body fat - a total of 1,284 lost pounds plantwide, in fact.

Last September, Cannon, along with Geneva 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.

Forty teams from throughout the plant took the "big guns" (as the executives call themselves) on.

About 20 teams showed up Friday in the dispensary for the final weigh-in.

The big guns may have to start calling themselves middle-sized guns: They lost a total of 99.5 pounds, but it wasn't enough to win.

"Three of us lost 94 of that," said Grow. "The one who didn't lose will be handing out the checks in a minute."

"What a bunch of skinnies," Cannon said moments later to contestants gathered in the Administration Building for the announcement of the winning teams.

First place went to the coke plant maintenance team of LeRoy Johnson, Hal Peery, Craig Larsen and Brent Young. The team lost a total of 149.75 pounds and split $2,000 for their weight-losing efforts.

Second place went to the central maintenance team: John Williamson, Reed Buckner, John Nielson and Gary Fisher, who lost a total of 129 pounds. Nielson, who said he ate a lot of Lean Cuisine, alone lost 74 pounds. That effort was greatly appreciated by other team members, particularly Buckner, who shed three pounds. The team split $1,000.

Third place, worth $500, was won by the rolling mill team, who "did grapefruit, starvation diets, nothing sensible, but it worked" according to team member Cari Trotter. Other team members were Alan Rasmussen, Bob Cook and Jack Oriolt.

In addition to taking third place, the rolling mill team lost the greatest percentage of original weight and was awarded an additional $1,000.

Cannon, who early on in the contest claimed to have hit a plateau, defended his attempts at dieting, saying that the "fourth member (of the executive team) had the least base to work from . . . these guys were a lot bigger than me."