AARP Spelling Bee

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- A 58-year-old Georgia man has won the
AARP's national spelling bee with the correct spelling of "uakari" (wah-KAR'-ee).

Tony Johnson won in the 39th round after three hours of competition Saturday under new rules meant to speed up the Cheyenne, Wyo., spelling bee. The practicing psychologist from LaGrange says he systematically went through the dictionary from A to Z in the past year to prepare.

The AARP says Johnson bested 40 other competitors ranging in age
from 50 to 81.

The runner-up was 66-year Michael Petrina of Arlington, Va.

Third place went to last year's champion, Scott Firebaugh of
Knoxville, Tenn.

The winning word, "uakari," is the name of a type of monkey found in the northwestern Amazon Basin. It's spelled U-A-K-A-R-I.

The spelling bee began in 1996.

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