A spelling bee for grown-ups in Summit County | SummitDaily.com

A spelling bee for grown-ups in Summit County

Most people hear the words “spelling bee” and picture an anxiety-ridden child standing on stage in front of stern-looking judges. So when Chris Renner, founder of the Summit Education Foundation, thought of a spelling bee as a way to raise money for Summit County schools’ technology fund, he decided to make it interesting.

“As we were researching different fundraisers other foundations have done across the country, we were looking for something that not only had a good probability of raising money for the foundation, but something that would generate a lot of community interest,” he said. “This is not your children’s spelling bee.”

Participants sign up in teams of three and compete “Family Feud” style. Each team will have 30 seconds to confer and come up with a word’s spelling. But there’s a twist: Participants can cheat. $25 buys teams a one-letter hint, $50 a do-over, $100 a peek in a dictionary, and $500 a pass to the next round – no spelling required.

“It truly is going to be part spelling, but much more entertainment and humor than seriousness,” Renner said. “We could have asked people to simply make a donation, but if we can raise money around something fun and creative, then all the better.”

The bee is set for Saturday, April 30 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Teams can enter for $300, and the winning group walks away with an iPad for each member. Audience members are also needed, and there will be appetizers and an open bar for them – attendance is $10. Renner said he wanted to make it affordable so the whole community could participate.

David Preaus, co-owner of Creative Cabinetry in Breckenridge and a member of the foundation’s board, has already registered a team. He said he’s participating because he strongly believes in the group’s mission, and it seemed like a fun event. A few spellers have told him they’re a little nervous about getting up in front of an audience, but they all know it’s in good fun.

Renner said possible participants have told him the same thing, but once he explains the cheating and the team approach, they all recognize the event will be a good time.

The winner of a Mini Cooper will also be announced that night. The car is filled with ping pong balls, and the winner will be the individual who can guess the number without going over.

Renner said there’s been a lot of community interest, and he expects to have 50 teams compete in the bee. There are already numerous groups – so far, all businesses and organizations – registered.

“It’s turning out to be a who’s-who of the business community,” he said.

To sign up for the spelling bee, or to guess the number of ping pong balls in the Mini Cooper, go to http://www.sefcolorado.org.

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