The Rise Of The Bees: In Case You Missed Out The First Time Around
With all the attention that spelling bees have been getting lately, I guess that it was inevitable that there would be a version for the grown-ups:
Jeff Kirsch, 53, won last year's National Senior Spelling Bee in Cheyenne -- 39 years after making it to the elite seventh round of the Scripps bee.Exercise for the mind does the body good. Why should the kids have all the fun?
"I never really let go of the fact that I didn't win the national one as a child," said Kirsch, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of Spanish and Portuguese. "I thought, 'Well, I'll compete in the senior one."'
Kirsch won the senior bee by nailing "millefiori," a glassware term for a pattern made by slicing across bundles of fused glass rods. He said he got more attention from winning the bee than from any of the three novels he has published.
The National Senior Spelling Bee, for contestants 50 and over, began with a few Cheyenne AARP members and a dictionary 10 years ago. About 50 spellers from around the nation are expected to compete in this year's bee on Saturday.
Spellers are disqualified on their third missed word. That is not as cutthroat as the Scripps bee, where kids have to step aside for misspelling just one word.
Also unlike the Scripps bee, where first place brings nearly $30,000 in cash and scholarships, the senior spellers compete mainly for bragging rights. The winner gets $100, the runner-up $50 and the third-place finisher $25.
Other adult bees have popped up around the nation in recent years. Many are fund-raisers for libraries and schools.
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