When a record-breaking 516 champion spellers (ages 8 to 15, from all 50 states and around the world) descended upon National Harbor, Maryland, for the 91st Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, they were doing it for two reasons: to see who has the strongest "word fu" when the dust settles from one of pop culture's brainier battles — and to remind most of us that we still use spell-check on "cat."
Okay… maybe it's 99.8% the former and ptretty nil on the latter… but let's not get distracted.
As part of Bleeding Cool's commitment to covering every inch of the pop culture landscape, we'll be live-blogging the final round closing portion of 91st Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, May 31st, from 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. ET (our blog post goes live starting at 8 p.m. ET).
With Can You Spell It in a Sentence? Bleeding Cool's 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee Live-Blog!, we'll be offering some funny and irreverent takes on the nation's oldest academic competition from the perspective of someone who would have problems spelling half of the words in play even if they were on a teleprompter.
● This page should update…but just to be on the safe side I suggest refreshing the page every now and then to make sure since I've been known to ramble often and quickly.
● If you're going to social media to talk about what we're talking about, go with: #bleedingcool and #bcbee.
● While you're waiting (or if you just need a breather from my raw, uncut cult-of-personality), check out some of the cool 2018 Spelling Bee "extras" we have waiting for you below.
Since we're spending a ton of time with them Thursday night, here's a look at who will be handling ESPN's coverage:
Matt Barrie: An award-winning sports reporter and versatile sports news anchor, Barrie hosts his first Scripps National Spelling Bee. Barrie anchors the 7 a.m. SportsCenter and has hosted SportsCenter on the Road, College GameDay Radio and Highlight Express on ESPNEWS.
Paul Loeffler: The 1990 Spelling Bee finalist represented the Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star, finishing among the top 13 spellers. He makes his 13th straight appearance on ESPN as the expert word analyst. Loeffler is also the current voice of Fresno State athletics (football, basketball and baseball), and has called football and baseball for ESPN in the past.
For all of your 91st Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee social media and online needs, check out their Facebook, Twitter (#SpellingBee), YouTube, Instagram, and Flickr accounts, as well as their website.
Here's a look at the "prize swag" that competing spellers and their schools walk away with this year:
All spellers receive:
● One-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online
● The Samuel Lewis Sugarman Award — a 2018 United States Mint Proof Set
● One-year membership to Britannica Online Premium
All Finalists receive:
● Scripps National Spelling Bee medal
● $500 gift card (spellers eliminated Rounds 4 through 6)
● $2000 (spellers eliminated in Round 7 through to 7th Place)
● 6th Place – $2500 / 5th Place – $5000 / 4th Place – $10000 / 3rd Place – $20000 / 2nd Place – $30000
For the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion:
● $40000 cash prize from Scripps National Spelling Bee
● Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy
● $2500 cash prize and complete reference library from Merrian-Webster
● $400 of reference works and a three-year membership to Britannica Online Premium from Encyclopedia Britannica
● A trip to New York City to appear on ABC's Live with Kelly and Ryan
● A trip to Hollywood to appear on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!
For the Champion's School and Sponsor:
● Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved plaques
● A pizza party sponsored by Pizza Hut
And if you need some background info, check out Bleeding Cool's past 2018 Spelling Bee coverage: