Roos Rule: SPG Team Claims Title of Best Spellers
A sea of black and yellow filled the lobby of the Sunrise Theater Thursday night as patrons entered for the third annual Spelling Bee for Literacy, a fundraiser that benefits the Moore County Literacy Council.
Taking the top spot this year was the Sunrise Preservation Group's Sun Roos team, led by Doug "Roo" Gill, with his mates, Audrey "Dingo" Moriarty, and Landon "Emu" Russell. The winning word was "limn," meaning "to paint or draw."
(To view a multimedia slideshow of the event, Click here)
The Roos, dressed in Australian garb, also took best costume honors for the second year in a row.
The field was narrowed down to two teams after the fourth round -- one in which the Roos used its Beeline, Bob Howell, to stay in the game -- and The Pilot Newshounds.
A Beeline is someone in the audience, designated in advance by a team, who could be called on to help spell one word -- similar to a life line on the popular television show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Teams had to pay $50 to use a Beeline.
The Newshounds, with Steve "The Professor" Bouser, Katherine "Chainsaw" Evans and Locke "The Franchise" Bowman, conquered such words as apothegm and tenebrous but were stumped by the word "whilom," which means "former."
Susan Sherard, executive director of the MCLC, welcomed the capacity crowd.
"We are here because there are too many people in Moore County who struggle with reading and writing," Sherard said. "We want to do something about it. And if you have to raise money, you may as well have fun doing it."
Sherard introduced David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot, presenting sponsor of the Bee, who served as master of ceremonies for the evening.
"It's such a treat for The Pilot to be involved in this," he said.
This year's judges were Dr. Susan Purser, superintendent of Moore County Schools; Buddy Spong, executive director of the Moore County Chapter of the American Red Cross; and Tom Compa of Habitat for Humanity. Spong and Compa dressed in judges' robes and long curly wigs.
As last year's champions, the Episcopal Day School Enthusiastic Determined Spellers, entered from the back of the theater, carrying the trophy that passes from winner to winner each year. Teresa "The Tiger" Van Camp and Freddie "The Terminator" Woronoff, dressed in boxing attire, preceded Headmaster Jay St. John down the aisle.
St. John wore a full "Gator" costume, and after reaching the stage, pulled off the head to announce that the first word of the night should be "claustrophobic." After leading the audience in a chorus of Queen's "We Are the Champions," the EDS team started the Bee by spelling "parochial."
The field of 14 three-member teams, sponsored by local businesses and civic groups, filled the stage.
The first team eliminated was the Broker Bees, sponsored by Prudential Gouger O'Neal and Saunders Real Estate, which stumbled on "peccadillo."
The saucy Putter Girls -- the Pinehurst Resort and Spa team, dressed for tennis and golf -- went down in the second round on the word, "fustian," even though they resorted to their "Beeline" audience member. The Simian Splrs of Sandhills Community College, complete with monkey masks, also went down in the second round as did the RBeeC Spelling Sensations, sponsored by RBC Centura Bank.
As the words got more difficult, more teams fell by the wayside. Third-round words tripped up the Sagacious Rotarians of Southern Pines Rotary Club and the Moore County Job Link Leadership Team Worker Bees.
In the fourth round, the EDS team used its Beeline, Father John Tampa, to no avail, as it misspelled "susurration."
The Golf Capital Chorus Men of Note -- Fred Wolferman, Dick Curl, and John Arnold (all basses, making it a little difficult to harmonize) -- struck out during the fourth round as well.
The Penick Village team also fell in the fourth round on the word "chthonic." But for the third year in a row, a raucous Penick Village crowd helped its team win the award for Best Team Spirit. The fans packed the seats along one whole side of the Sunrise, cheering loudly and playing kazoos.
Others stumbling in the fourth round were the Lit Wits, sponsored by friends of Longleaf Golf and Country Club; the Northern Moore Family Resource Center's Northern Exposure, sponsored by the Pinehurst Rotary Club; and the Vass-Lakeview Elementary School Screamin' Eagles, sponsored by the Vass Lions Club.
Spelling Bee organizer Nita Brunner announced that $2,900 in donations had been collected at the door during the evening. That amount will be added to the proceeds from entry fees for the teams and sponsorships from Time Warner Cable and BB&T.
Others contributing to the Bee, whether in funds, food, time, or merchandise for door prizes, include Caterino's Bakery, Clark Chevrolet Cadillac, the Cornerstone Restaurant, Elliott's on Linden, First Bank, Lester Seidenberg Audio-Visual Resource, Nature's Own Market and Vermont Treasures.
"Thank you to Carl Giambelluca and Nita Brunner, who are co-chairmen of the Bee," Sherard said. "And thank you to The Pilot for its sponsorship. Thanks as well to all of the teams who are willing to come up on stage for the benefit of a good cause."
For information on literacy programs, call the MCLC at 692-5954.
Faye Dasen can be reached at email@example.com or 693-2475.
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