Some may find adult spelling bees “otiose,” which means producing no useful result, according to Webster’s, but not The Godspellers from Grace Episcopal Church.
The team reigned supreme for their third year in a row at the 28th-annual Great Grown Up Spelling Bee on Tuesday, May 14 winning on the final word — “otiose.”
Held at Brenau’s Hosch Theatre, eight teams from local churches, colleges and businesses, including The Times, sharpened their tongues and pencils for the chance of spelling bee bragging rights.
The competition presented teams with the one-time opportunity to buy their way back into the game when they misspelled a word. Every team used the buy-back option on Tuesday, which involved donating $100.
All proceeds from the competition went to support the Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy.
Gay Hammond — the wordsmith and emcee — added energy to the evening, using different accents and expressing about her love of words.
Some of the words teams tripped over included muliebrity, nidifugous, putsch and mirliton.
“She (Hammond) had a lot of new words and most of them I hadn’t heard before,” Nancy Richardson of The Godspellers said. “Rob (Harris) is amazing, he knows words.”
Harris from The Godspellers group said he enjoys seeing the same teams every year, including those from First United Methodist Church and Lanier Technical College.
The Circuit Riders of the First United Methodist Church finished in second place next for the second consecutive year.
“We’re kind of neck-in-neck,” Ruth Bruner of the Circuit Riders said. “It’s a friendly rivalry.”
Bruner’s team didn’t go out without a fight. During the ninth round, they correctly spelled mansuetude, then struck out with the word “zygapophysis.”
“It was harder than usual and there were a lot more new words,” Bruner said. “You can’t study because you don’t know what she’s (Hammond) going to pick out of the dictionary.”