Press releases



Tonitown's Kathy Hodel Named National Cake-Decorating Champion
Hodel “Takes the Cake” in Sam’s Club National Cake-Decorating Contest,
Winning a Trip to China

Bentonville, Ark. – Sam’s Club announced today that Kathy Hodel, a Tonitown resident and local Sam’s Club bakery associate, has been named the champion in the warehouse club’s national cake-decorating contest. Hodel competed among a group of five regional finalists from around the country during the Aug. 9 national Sam’s Club cake-decorating contest to earn her title. Along with the esteemed title, Hodel won a trip to China, where she will observe cake decorating expertise from some of Sam’s Club’s international bakery associates.

The contest, which started with qualifying rounds in February, began with approximately 200 Sam’s Club bakery associates. During initial eliminations, the field was narrowed to about a dozen associates in each of the Club’s five regions. Those regional finalists then competed among one another, vying for one of only five spots in the national finals. Regional contests were held in Grapevine, TX; Buford, GA; Woodridge, IL; Las Vegas, NV; and Reading, PA.

“It was a long process and a tough competition, but I’m really glad I had the chance to participate,” said Hodel. “It was such an honor to represent my region, and I can’t say how much I appreciate all of the support I’ve received throughout the competition.”

During the final event, which was held during Sam’s Club’s Fall Managers Meeting in Kansas City, Hodel and others competed in two different contests – including both a creative and a speed round. During the creative round, contestants designed and decorated a three-tiered Halloween cake in just an hour. In the speed round, contestants were given only 10 minutes to decorate a birthday cake, following specific guidelines. Hodel finished her cake in only 5 minutes, 44 seconds.

Warren Brown, host of the Food Network’s “Sugar Rush,” served as a celebrity judge for the event.

“The Sam’s Club bakery associates have demonstrated talent and creativity throughout the competitions around the country,” said Brown, a lawyer-turned-baker who founded the nationally acclaimed CakeLove Bakery and the Love Café in Washington, D.C. “I am impressed and it’s clear that all of the bakery associates are dedicated to providing Sam’s Club members with great-looking, quality cakes that are perfect for any occasion.”

As the national champion, Hodel will head to China in October for a week-long trip, where she will work with international bakery associates to learn new techniques and skills.

I’m looking forward to representing Sam’s Club bakery associates overseas and learning new decorating techniques and tips to bring back here to my fellow associates,” said Hodel.

The cakes Hodel and other competitors decorated during the national finals were displayed for others at Sam’s Club’s Fall Managers Meeting to see.

To find the nearest Sam’s Club where you can get a uniquely decorated cake of your own, visit

About Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., The first Sam’s Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1983 and serves more than 47 million U.S. Members. Sam’s Club offers exceptional values on merchandise and services for business owners and consumers. Online merchandise and club information is available at