National Spelling Bee will have fewer wild cards


National News

December 10, 2019 - 10:48 AM

The Scripps National Spelling Bee will have fewer participants next year. Whether it will have fewer champions remains to be seen.

Six months after the bee ended in an unprecedented eight-way tie because organizers ran out of words that were difficult enough to trip up the best spellers, Scripps on Tuesday announced the first in a series of reforms to the competition. While bee organizers aren’t saying how they’ll come up with a more challenging word list, the bee is reducing the number of wild-card entrants, which ought to streamline an event that was becoming unwieldy.

The bee will have roughly 140 wild-card entrants, down from nearly 300 this year. That means the competition would top out at about 400 spellers. This year, there were 562 kids in the bee, which is open to students through the eighth grade.

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