I may have been in a Spelling Bee or two or three during my school years, but those Spelling Bees were not of the sort I experienced at the Wichita Falls Spelling Bee.
The Wichita Falls 20th Annual Spelling Bee, a production of the Wichita Adult Literacy Council, had all sorts of Spelling Bee twists I had not experienced before.
Such as before the spelling started a buffet provided a food boost to the spellers and spelling watchers. A buffet with multiple barbecue items, along with the usual barbecue suspects, such as potato salad, cole slaw, beans and a couple type peppers. Plus iced tea and ice cream.
A BIG cake celebrating "Spelling For 20 Years!" With bees flying out of hives in trees.
Bees and their hives were one of the themes of the evening.
Above we see a Bee Woman letting us know "ALL HIVES MATTER".
I really think such goes without saying. Anyone with any sense of decency knows All Hives Matter.
Spelling Bees can be a rowdy affair, I assume.
But I did not experience too much rowdiness. But it is always reassuring to see a police presence at any event.
Including a Spelling Bee.
Though the photo above sort of seems to indicate one had to go through some sort of security check before entering the Spelling Zone, such was not actually the case.
The above photo and the one which follows were taken from the vantage point from whence I watched most of the Spelling Bee.
Myself and a lovely young lady named Andrea were the designated cheerleaders for the spelling team which called itself The Misfits.
Andrea and I did not know why our team called itself The Misfits. We speculated the reason might have been because of the team member's remarkable resemblances to Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Thelma Ritter.
Andrea and I took seriously our cheerleader duties. Other teams may have had noisier cheerleaders and larger groups doing the cheerleading, but Andrea and I really did a bang up job of cheering on The Misfits.
When the spelling finally began, about half an hour later than we thought it would, the first round was easy words, such as one might find in a first grade Dick and Jane book. Even so, Andrea and I were a bit concerned when Team Misfit got their first word, but, to our relief, they spelled it correctly.
I should have written down the words The Misfits were tasked to spell, but it did not occur to me to do so. So, I have forgotten all the words The Misfits spelled correctly. All I remember is the word, to the horror and shock of myself and Andrea, which The Misfits misspelled, knocking them out of the competition in the fourth round.
As The Misfits struggled to figure out how to spell what turned out to be their last word I zoomed my camera in for a closeup of Alex, she being the lady on the right, looking at Big Ed trying to figure out how to spell the word which ended up spelling The Misfit's doom.
Andrea and I both wrote down the correct spelling when we heard the Spellmaster say the word.
And then Andrea and I recoiled in horror as we heard Dana, she being the third member of The Misfits, spell out A S I M U T H.
Like I said, Andrea and I were mortified.
With this type high level, highly sophisticated, complex type Spelling Bee there are all sorts of twist options.
Such as, for $100 you can save your team, buying their way back into the Bee.
Andrea was ready to pay for the save, but I objected, opining quite determinedly that The Misfits did not deserve a save from their Cheerleaders after so shamefully misspelling a relatively simple word.
All things considered, the Wichita Falls 20th Annual Spelling Bee was an enjoyable evening. But, I was sort of relieved when I heard Dana spell azimuth with an 's'. The time was fast approaching my regularly scheduled bedtime...