The time-tested custom of trying to knock off the reigning champion has reached the IT’S TIME TEXAS Community Challenge, as not one but two cities are doing their best to take the statewide title from Prosper.


The IT’S TIME TEXAS Community Challenge is the statewide competition to determine the healthiest towns and cities in the state. It’s designed to encourage residents, mayors, schools, businesses, churches and organizations to adopt healthy habits by offering incentives, including a trophy, and a cash prize of $1,800. Prosper is the current champ in the small-town category.


Mayor Ray Smith has declared his intention to repeat as the competition’s statewide champion in the small community category.


“Mayor Marcus Knight in Lancaster has thrown down the gauntlet,” Smith said in a statement. “He’s committed to beating us. Then, Trophy Club entered the fray and it’s now a three-way race. I’m confident, though, that Prosper residents, schools, churches and businesses are up to the challenge. We’re in it to win it.”


Cities and towns win by amassing the most points in the competition. Points are accumulated by residents, school officials, clergy and businesses who register on www.ittcommunitychallenge.com and return to their accounts on that site to upload healthy selfies, track their weight loss, monitor their workouts and complete the appropriate pledges.


One of the last events set to add more points to the Town’s total is Windsong Ranch’s Bliss Fest on Saturday, March 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


“We have a very healthy community, with sports teams galore, a Town Council that’s committed to providing opportunities for health promotion, a Parks and Recreation Department second to none, a school district that consistently excels academically and on the sports fields, and a population that understands the importance of healthy living,” Ray said in the statement. “There is no reason we should not win this every year.”


The competition ends on March 31, when the final tally of points is conducted and the winner is declared. Mayor Smith has recorded several videos in support of the campaign, and a number of local fitness and exercise centers have also stepped up their participation. The Parks and Recreation Department is taking the lead in encouraging full participation.


“We’re doing what we can, but ultimately, it’s the residents, pastors, school officials, businesses and other partners who will determine the winner,” the Mayor added. “I have confidence that we can do it, but everyone has to pitch in. Getting healthy, developing good wellness habits and staying in shape are all positive consequences of the program. And, of course, winning the challenge would be great.”


Input into the challenge will continue until midnight, March 31.