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AARP Brings Back National Spelling Bee for Adults Age 50+


Media Contact:
AARP Media Relations,, 202-434-2560


Two-Day Mental Fitness Event to Highlight Brain Health

WASHINGTON (March 22, 2010) – AARP today announced a national call for entries for the 15th annual AARP National Spelling Bee which will be held in Cheyenne, Wyo., June 18-19, 2010 at the Little America Hotel and Resort. Open to anyone age 50 or older, the AARP National Spelling Bee attracts spellers from all over the U.S. who compete for more than $1,000 in gifts and prizes. Additionally, a free pre-bee workshop, Gray Matters: Training the Grownup Brain, has been added to this year’s event and will feature New York Times Health Editor and author of “The Secret Life of the Grownup Brain,” Barbara Strauch. Online registration will be open at through June 11th.

“Whether you enjoy reading the dictionary to keep your mind sharp or you just want to meet other like-minded adults, the AARP National Spelling Bee always proves to be exciting and highly competitive,” said Tim Summers, AARP Wyoming Director. “Many of our spellers prepare year-round for this competition and we’re pleased to be able to continue to provide this forum for adults to test themselves.”

The AARP National Spelling Bee consists of two rounds of competition, beginning with a 100-word written spelling test in the morning, narrowing the field to the top 15 spellers who go on to compete in the oral spelling rounds. Spellers are allowed to miss three words in the oral rounds before being knocked out of the competition.

In response to requests from spellers to learn more about the brain, how it works and how to improve their cognitive health, the Gray Matters pre-Bee workshop has been added to the event. Attendees will take part in interactive sessions where they will learn about the impact of diet, fitness and relationships on brain health and be able to ask questions of a neurologist, dietician and exercise physiologist, among others.

“Some spellers have told us that they enter the bee because they had performed well in a spelling bee when they were younger, and they want to test themselves again,” said Brian Greene, AARP National Spelling Bee chief judge. “What they realize is that a lifetime of learning and reading has made them a much better and more confident speller.”

Registration for the 2010 AARP National Spelling Bee is available via and 1-877-926-8300. Pre-event registration is $30 for spellers and remains open through June 11th; walk-in registration costs $40. The Gray Matters workshop on June 18th is free.

Sponsors of the 2010 AARP National Spelling Bee and Gray Matters: Training the Grownup Brain workshop include: the University of Wyoming, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, Inc., Visit Cheyenne, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Franklin Electronic Publishers., Taco John’s International, Wyoming Spine and Neurosurgery, Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power, Sierra Trading Post, and First Interstate Bank.

The AARP National Spelling Bee was created in 1996 by a group of AARP members in Cheyenne, Wyo., who wanted a fun way to challenge their peers to keep their minds sharp as they age. The competition has been held every year since, and always in Cheyenne. A group of dedicated volunteers select the words, write the sentences, organize, and promote the event. Spellers travel from across America to showcase a lifetime of knowledge and to celebrate their years of experience.

A complete schedule for the two days, sample word lists, contest details and official rules, can be found at or by calling the AARP office in Wyoming at 1-866-663-3290.

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About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.7 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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