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2011 AARP Spelling Bee Highlights

Tony Johnson captures the 2011 title

Tony Johnson, 58, from LaGrange, Ga., was crowned champion of the 2011 AARP National Spelling Bee held in Cheyenne, Wyo., and walked away with a $5,000 grand prize and a five-year AARP membership.

Johnson, a practicing psychologist, correctly spelled "uakari" in the 39th round of the competition that began with 40 spellers from across America. Johnson's studying regimen for the last year: "I systematically went through the dictionary from A to Z.

"Below is a collection of highlight images from this year's bee. The 2012 contest is right around the corner, which means it's never too early to break out that dictionary.

2011 champ Tony Johnson spells a word during the finals. Johnson says he "systematically went through the dictionary from A to Z" to prepare for the competition. — Matt Nager

The 2011 finalists included:

1. Tony Johnson, 58, from LaGrange, Ga.
2. Michael Petrina Jr., 66, from Arlington, Va.
3. Scott Firebaugh, 57, from Knoxville, Tn.
4. Norman Zucker, 64, from Petaluma, Calif.
5. Susan Hartner, 66, from Hillsboro, Or.
6. Robert Moy, 54, from New York, N.Y.
7. Jim Sherry, 69, from Troy, Ala.
8. Roxana Bradley, 62, from Albuquerque, N.M.
9. Kathleen Cramm, 68, from Parker, Colo.
10. Ron Lewis, 63, from Missouri City, Texas
11. Linda Phillips, 71, from Newport, R.I.
11. Marlene Harry, 59, from Brownsburg, Ind.
12. Curtis Beckman, 65, from Denton, Texas
12. Mary Ann Fenske, 63, from Wichita, Kan.
12. Kate Karp, 62, from Long Beach, Calif.

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