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Irvington Spellers See V-I-C-T-O-R-Y At Bee

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – In the end, the winning team of the sixth annual Friends of the Irvington Library Spelling Bee was the one with a teammate's name misspelled in the program.

The Spellbinders of Downingwood took home the silver cup Friday night at the Irvington Town Hall Theater after out-spelling rookie team the Reservoir Dogs on the word “skeuomorph.”

Champion spellers Madlyn Walton, Eva Mininberg and Karl Weber attributed their win to the composition of their team.

“We have one Greek on our team, one former health care professional,” Weber said. “So that kind of covers two big categories of words right there. That's the secret.”

The Bee featured five qualifying and one championship round of spelling from Irvington residents. During each round, Master of Ceremonies and Enunciator Jon Scott called out words and their definitions. Teams had 25 seconds to agree on the correct spelling, which they wrote down on whiteboards and showed the judges.

Audience members played along with the teams, guessing and comparing with their seatmates before the correct spelling was broadcast on a screen behind the contestants.

The Bee is a primary fundraiser for the Friends of the Irvington Library. Scott noted that the money raised would go toward buying things such as books-on-tape and special programs.

Enunciator Scott dressed up in costumes and made sure to have fun with the definitions, especially when it meant poking fun at neighboring village Hastings-on-Hudson. Scott briefly mentioned Hastings on the word “boondocks,” but then quickly decided after the audience laughed that “I can't say that.”

When the judges missed the fact that a team had added an extra letter to a word, Scott said it wasn't a big deal. “Who cares about accuracy? It's a spelling bee!” he said.

The last round of the bee featured the veteran Spellbinders and a rookie team: the Reservoir Dogs.

The Dogs had earned notoriety and produced a collective gasp from the audience earlier in the third round after trouncing returning bee winners Wordly Women and the B Train with the word “psephology.”

The last round of spelling had the audience on the edge of their seats as both the Spellbinders and the Dogs either spelled words correctly or both got them wrong. Scott did his best to try to trip up one of the teams and produce a winner. “Skeuomorph” did the trick.

Audience members weren't sure at first that the Spellbinders had won, muttering to their seatmates over whether there was a difference in spellings. A large round of cheering and applause burst forth after everyone realized the competition was over.

The silver trophy will be engraved with the Spellbinders' names and displayed in the Irvington Public Library. Spellbinder Karl said they'd try for a three-peat next year.

“We'll be here,” he said.

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