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United Way team is Smartest

"Live United."

That's what the winning team from the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County did Wednesday night as they walked away with the trophy as Buffalo's Smartest Company in the fourth annual fundraising competition to benefit Cradle Beach Camp.

The four-person team of David Wilson, Bill Reese, Jill Robbins-Jabine and Richard Porter lived up to their slogan, topping the second-place squad from the editorial department of The Buffalo News to capture the title in the Classics V Banquet Hall in Amherst.

Third place went to the law firm of Connors & Vilardo, the winner of the event in the first two years of the competition.

"It was a huge success," said Tim Boling, Cradle Beach CEO, who added that proceeds for the 2010 event were still being tabulated late Wednesday.

The Smartest Company competition is one of four major annual fundraisers for Cradle Beach Camp. Last year, Boling said the event netted about $25,000 for the camp.

"It's a fun night for folks to come all together and raise money for Cradle Beach," Boling said. "All proceeds from the event go to cover the cost of children with disabilities and children economically disadvantaged attending Cradle Beach Camp this year."

As for the contest, "It gets pretty competitive, but it's all for a good cause," he added.

The 41 business teams of four players each were required to electronically answer 15 questions during three rounds of timed competition. A maximum of 1,000 points per question was awarded for a quick correct answer. The point total diminishes as time elapses.

Questions ranged from topics such as television, movies and music to academic subjects such as math, science and literature.

A traveling trophy -- in the same spirit as Lord Stanley's Cup -- is awarded to the top team and engraved with winners' names and the year of victory.

The previous champions are the Cohen & Lombardo law firm, which won the tournament in 2009, and the two-time champion Connors & Vilardo law firm, which won in the contest's debut year, 2007, and again in 2008.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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