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Forever Young Crowned Great Bend Cookie Champion Again

Record $1,485 Raised for Food Bank of Barton County

Twice As Nice – Forever Young (Kids Resale) store owner Betty Hazlett stands with her (second consecutive) framed Cookie Champion certificate, surrounded by racks of children’s clothing. Said Hazlett, “I love the Cookie Contest because it brings in people who don’t normally come in to our store. They get the opportunity to find out what our store is about.” Forever Young sells gently used children’s clothing up to size 18, maternity clothing, toys, books, shoes, outwear, blankets and other accessories.

This year is twice as nice for Great Bend business owner Betty Hazlett. After winning the Great Bend Cookie Contest for the first time last year, she successfully defended the crown this year. Hazlett’s store, Forever Young (Kids Resale), located at 1101 Main, was named Great Bend Cookie Contest Champion for the second consecutive year. The 15th Annual Great Bend Cookie Contest was held in downtown Great Bend on Nov. 25 during a snowy day on Small Business Saturday.

“Last year was more of a surprise to us that we won,” explained Hazlett. “This year, we had a better idea of how to win. You have to know what you are doing when baking so many cookies. You can’t bake a cookie that will be too crisp the next day. And there’s no way you can do this on your own. You need a good team to bake all the cookies correctly.”

Competing in her fourth consecutive Great Bend Cookie Contest, Hazlett’s baking team included daughters Rachelle Hapes, and Tara Hazlett, along with Elizabeth Ibarra; the same team that took last year’s cookie prize. This year, Forever Young chose to bake a snickerdoodle with cream chees frosting. Hazlett said she prefers this year’s cookie over last year’s winner, a mini cheesecake with berries cookie.

The weekend before this year’s contest, the team tried out three different cookie recipes. Once the snickerdoodle was chosen, they made and froze the dough balls, ready for their long baking day on Friday before the contest.

“We baked, and we baked, and we baked” explained Hazlett. “It was eight cookies a sheet, 10 minutes a cookie sheet in the oven for a total of 5 1/2 hours of steady baking.”

Forever Young won the contest with 42 votes, followed by A440 Music with 28 votes (warm salted caramel chocolate chip), and Great Bend Coffee took third with 17 votes (pumpkin snickerdoodle with frosting).

In what has become a post-Thanksgiving tradition, more than 130 cookie judges donated at least $10 for a cookie bracelet, which allowed them to visit 11 Great Bend businesses and taste cookies before voting on their favorite one. For the first time in four years, cookie bracelets did not sell out, but record proceeds still went to the Community Food Bank of Barton County to help feed those in need during the holiday season and beyond. This year’s contest resulted in $1,485 that has been donated to the Food Bank. That’s $105 more than last year’s previous record.

Businesses participating in this year’s Great Bend Cookie Contest, besides Forever Young, were Rosewood Furniture Gallery (Cookie Headquarters); Kustom Floor Designs; Buckle; Great Bend Coffee; Bling; Rosewood Bargain Barn; A440 Musical Instruments; Heart of Kansas/Ms. Pretty Pickles; The Wright Place; and Rosewood Wine Cellar.

According to Great Bend Cookie Contest organizers, bragging rights for the contest is a fun part of the event, the true significance of the contest are the proceeds generated by the contest to help those within the community, who are in need.

“While winning the cookie contest is important, and we congratulate Forever Young for defending its cookie title, we are so thankful to all the stores and cookie judges for participating,” said Anna Hammond, business development director for Rosewood Services. “With the inclement weather, it would have been easy for people not to participate this year, but because of everyone who did, we were able to donate a record amount from our contest to the Food Bank of Barton County.”

As part of activities wrapped into Small Business Saturday, cookie contest businesses also donated prizes, which were awarded to cookie contest participants during a drawing the following Monday. 

By winning two consecutive years, Forever Young is chasing the greatness of A440 Musical Instruments, which was crowned Great Bend Cookie Champion five of the previous six years before last year. And Hazlett seems to be up for the challenge to defend her title next year.

“My kids are excited about the contest,” explained Hazlett. “I’ve already started receiving recipe ideas for next year from them. Yes, we’re planning to do the contest again next year. The pressure mounts, it’s hard to keep winning; it’s also a lot of work, but we have a lot of fun doing it.”


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For more information, contact Anna Hammond, Rosewood Services, 620-793-5888

December 7, 2023
Story by: Michael Dawes, PR Director, Rosewood Services, 620-792-2536,