Mayor David Cook admits that he’s a little competitive. Fortunately for the Salvation Army, for the past six years he’s used his competitive spirit to raise thousands of dollars during the Mayoral Challenge of the Red Kettle Campaign.
“Mansfield, we like to win,” Cook said. “The goal is $20,000. Let’s get it done.”
The Mayoral Challenge - featuring mayors from Mansfield, Arlington and Pantego - is set for Saturday, with Cook ringing bells at Walmart, 930 N. Walnut Creek Drive, and both Chick-Fil-A restaurants, 800 N. Walnut Creek Drive and 3200 E. Broad St.
Last year, Mansfield raised $18,042.60 to help Cook hang onto the Mayoral Challenge title and trophy for the fifth year, topping Arlington's $10,798.97 and Pantego's $3,059.71. Mansfield has only lost the title once, to Arlington in 2011.
“The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders won,” Cook said, pointing out that former Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck called the cheerleaders in for backup that year.
Arlington’s new mayor, Jeff Williams, came out swinging this year, rounding up $150 at Arlington’s City Council meeting. Cook struck back, betting Williams that Mansfield High would defeat Arlington Lamar High’s football team in the playoffs and wagering the contents of both of their Red Kettles from the game at AT&T Stadium. The Mansfield Tigers downed Lamar, and Cook bagged $176.
Williams has heard about Cook’s fund-raising prowess, and respects it. He admits he’s been spying on Cook and taking notes.
“I’m hopeful in three or four years I can catch David,” he said. “Your mayor has set quite a bar. I’m hoping to stay within 20 percent of Mayor Cook.”
And then there’s Pantego Mayor Melody Paradise, whose one-square-mile city “raises more per capita than either of these guys,” said Capt. Patrick Jones of the Salvation Army.
The good-natured competition generates the highest revenue-producing day of the year for the Salvation Army, said Jones, helping the charity fund the family homeless shelter, after-school programs, summer day care and the Angel Tree.
“It’s amazing to see the support the community gives,” Jones said. “I’m so impressed with Arlington and Mansfield and how they support their charities. It’s very uncommon. You don’t see that everywhere.”
8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12
Walmart, 930 N. Walnut Creek Drive
Chick-Fil-A, 800 N. Walnut Creek Drive
Chick-Fil-A, 3200 E. Broad St.