When the long Memorial Day Weekend comes to an end, the National Spelling Bee—this year is the 87th annual affair—takes over.
And a few moments this morning have already lightened the mood.
The Associated Press reports that when Lillian Allingham of Heckessin, Del., asked for a sentence for "odyssey," pronouncer Jacques Bailey referred to someone who "got lost in Costco for 35 minutes."
The vocabulary test was given Tuesday. Spellers begin tackling individual words today. The semifnals are Thursday during the day and the finals are televised to a national audience on Thursday night, with the winner getting more than $33,000 in cash and prizes.
Representing Idaho are:
Kiana Lacrois, 13, who attends the Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy, insists that she usually falls asleep with a book in her hands and the reading light still on. She's also an accomplished percussionist, playing the suspended and crash symbols, timpani, xylophone, marimba and drums in her school's concert band.
Maia Dykstra, 13, is a seventh-grader as Asotin Junior High School in Asotin, Wash., but she is being sponsored by the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune. Maia runs cross-country, studies karate and is only one belt away from her black belt.
There are 142 girls and 139 boys in this year's competition, with one 8-year-old, three 9-year-olds and seven 10-year-olds; the majority of the contestants are 13 years old.
The overwhelming majority of contestants attend public schools.
Twenty-two of the spellers have relatives who have participated in previous spelling bees.