Bee spells fun for a good cause

Costumed contestants flock to Spell-A-Bration

The stakes may not have been too high in Friday’s Hill’s Pet Nutrition Spell-A-Bration, but the contestants were still serious – about having fun, that is.

Twenty-four teams competed at the Knights of Columbus Hall as part of the fundraiser for Bowling Green-Warren County Community Education.

A parade of teams was heralded in by Western Kentucky University football coach David Elson, with “Elvis” and “Mini-Elvis” bringing in the list of spelling words for the “master of pronunciation and enunciation,” Gene Birk of WBKO.

Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club had two teams in the event; both were knocked out early in the competition, but the women clad as beauty queens didn’t seem to mind. The Queen Bees 1 and 2 wore teal pageant sashes reading “Best Dressed,” as well as tiaras.

Ashley Reynolds said she joined the team because it was a chance to support a good cause and be with women she liked volunteering with.

Special judge Bill Russell, a retired Bowling Green physician, dressed his part in a judge’s robe. He said there are some tricks to being a good speller, including “practicing, because English has so many irregularities.”

How a word is pronounced also makes a difference, he said, and a person has a better chance at spelling something correctly if he has heard it said or used in a sentence before.

Elson and Birk poked fun at each other during the evening, with the coach using the anchor’s relatively new marriage as an example in some of the sentences.

Members of the Kappa Delta Sorority at WKU helped guide the teams on and off the stage for their turns, and led the crowd in line dancing before the event began.

Rachel Feldman, a Louisville sophomore, said 11 girls turned out for the event as part of their community service work. They also were having a good time laughing and clapping with the crowd.

The first team dropped from the competition fell in the first round, when the Bunraku Bandits of Scott, Murphy and Daniel misspelled “shepherd” – “s-h-e-p-h-a-r-d,” they said.

By the end of Round 3, six teams had been knocked out, having had trouble with such words as hearken, hypocrite and turban.

At the end of the night, it was WBKO’s Hometown Spell-a-Vision team that came out on top, followed by teams from Hill’s and Bowling Green City Schools. The Daily News’ team, the WordHerders, won for best costumes.

Ann Grubbs, one of the organizers of Community Education, said she hoped the event would raise as much as last year’s – $9,000. Teams paid entry fees to compete, spectators paid $5 for admission, and items were up for a silent auction. Grubbs said numerous area businesses contributed to the event.


Minor, Robyn L. (2009, February). Bee spells fun for a good cause. Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved from