Record-Setting Spelling Bee Attracts Swarm

The winning word was chatelaine.

Today, 18 teams competed in the 14th annual Corporate Spelling Bee, put on by the Literacy Council of Tyler.

I was on KLTV 7's team, along with reporter Maya Golden and director Adam Troutman.

It was just minutes before the big showdown. I was still doing my last-minute review of 3,900 possible words from the Scripps National Spelling Bee list.

You know, I'm never nervous when I'm on air or when I do live shots. But for some reason, at the spelling bee, I was so nervous. Being the nerd I am, I listened to all 3,900 words online. Then I listened to them again to test myself. Then I recorded myself saying the words I missed the first time around and re-tested myself.

"Can you spell uintjie?" I asked teammate Maya.

"If they ask me uintjie, I'm not going to be able to spell it," she replied.

"It's all right. I got your back on that one," I said.

Inside, all 18 teams were lining up and their co-workers were getting ready to cheer them on. I kept on cramming.

"Zugzwang," I said to myself. "How about that? I think that's German. Z-u-g-z-w-a-n-g. Got it right!"

While I continued studying... Well, let's just say Maya and Adam were getting their needed energy. (They were eating lunch.)

Round one, and one team down. Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP misspelled animation.

"You receive the annual Joey Seeber Memorial Award," the emcee told the first team out, amid crowd laughter. "Because Joey Seeber misspelled the first word of the first round of the first spelling bee ever."

One by one, the teams were eliminated. But KLTV remained strong.

Then came the final spell-off. It was KLTV vs. Trane American Standard. It was Maya's turn.

"Mucilaginous. M-U-C-I-L-A-N-I-G-O-U-S," Maya said.

She had the correct spelling going up to the mike. She just got the letters switched around. But it's all right. We all make mistakes.

Not a bad day for KLTV. We got 2nd place. Congratulations to Trane American Standard.

Julie Tam, reporting.