National Spelling Bee
Rules and Regulations
1. The annual AARP National Spelling Bee will be held in Cheyenne, Wyo., on July 13, 2013, beginning at 8:30 a.m. MT. The registration fee is $40, including a $3 nonrefundable administrative processing fee. Contest registration begins at 12 midnight ET on Aug. 11, 2012, and phone and online registration ends at 11:59:59 p.m. MT on July 5, 2013. Walk-in registrations will be accepted from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. MT on Saturday, July 13, 2013, at the site of the bee. Contestants (“Spellers”) must be at least 50 years of age at the time of the bee, and will be required to show proof of identification and age to complete registration.
2. The Contest is sponsored by and administered by AARP (the “Sponsor”). AARP is not responsible for incomplete, late or misdirected entries or for failure to receive entries because of transmission failures or technical failures of any kind, including, without limitation, malfunctioning of any network, hardware or software, whether originating with sender or Sponsor. AARP reserves the right to disqualify any entries by persons, potential contestants or actual contestants determined to be tampering with or abusing any aspect of the Contest, as determined by AARP in its sole discretion. Entering the bee constitutes the Contest entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules. The Contest is governed by the laws of the United States and the District of Columbia, and is void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited. By entering the Contest, you acknowledge and agree that Sponsor shall have the right (without limitation or further compensation to you) to reproduce, publish, promote, display and otherwise use your name and image in any way it sees fit, including the right to publish your name and image online and in print. The decisions of Sponsor are final in all matters relating to the Contest. Employees of AARP or any of its respective divisions, affiliates, subsidiaries, and promotional or marketing agencies, and the immediate family members of, and any persons domiciled with, any such employees are not eligible. The term “immediate family members” includes spouses, parents, siblings and children. Additionally, AARP National Spelling Bee volunteers, and members of their immediate households, may not compete in the bee. Without limiting the foregoing, the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may disqualify Spellers for an occurrence or existence of the following: 1) any misconduct; 2) any act or omission attributable to contestant that brings shame or public embarrassment to AARP; or 3) any act by contestant that maligns or disparages AARP, or negatively depicts AARP. In the event of disqualification, Speller shall not be entitled to any prize or reimbursement of entry fee and may be ejected, at the sole discretion of sponsor, from the contest venue.
3. First, Second, and Third place finalists will be presented prizes. The First place finalist receives $1,000; Second receives $750 and Third receives $500. The winner also will receive a plaque. The winners will be required to show proof of identification and other documentation, including releases, affidavits and tax forms, which may be necessary to fulfill the prize, as determined by AARP in its sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prize with another prize of greater value or provide additional prizes. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Winners are solely responsible for reporting and payment of any taxes on prizes. Entrants are solely responsible for their own conduct and agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, and the directors, officers, employees and agents of each, from any and all liability for any injuries, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the Contest or any prize won.
4. The bee has two segments. The first consists of 100 written words, given in four rounds of 25 words each. Spellers’ scores in the written segment will be used to determine qualifiers for the oral rounds. The top 15 Spellers plus any ties will proceed to the oral rounds. Any Speller not seated and ready to compete at the beginning of a round will be disqualified.
5. All words used in the Spelling Bee have been taken from the printed and online formats of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh edition, copyrights 2003-2013. No capitalized, hyphenated, or double or triple entries will be used. Variant spellings will generally NOT be used. The only exception will be secondary variants found adjacent to main and boldface entry words. These are preceded by the word “also.” Examples of words that could be used are antepenult also antepenultima; the plural exanthems also exanthemata; and ipecac also ipecacuanha. Please consult the dictionary’s Explanatory Notes section on Variants. Spellers also should assume that a word can be used in its singular, plural or inflected form or as one of the allowable parts of speech for that word. Words will be pronounced according to the diacritical marks in the dictionary formats cited above. The Pronouncer will pronounce each word at least twice. The Pronouncer may designate its part of speech, number and language of origin, provide its definition, give its usage in a complete sentence, and pronounce it a third time. Any of the above information must be requested before the Speller begins to spell. No other questions will be addressed. The Pronouncer will provide the above-mentioned information until the Judges determine the word has been properly and reasonably defined and illustrated. The Judges have the right to disqualify any Speller who declines a request to start spelling. All questions regarding words must be resolved before the next word is pronounced; words will not be repeated once the Pronouncer has advanced to the next word.
6. Only Spellers, staff and official volunteers are allowed in the competition area during each segment. A viewing area is provided for all others. Judges may not be contacted by either Spellers or spectators.
7. Any and all spelling assistance is forbidden. Any assistance may result in the spelling being counted as incorrect, or in disqualification of the Speller, as determined by the judges. Spellers are not allowed to use any printed or written materials or any writing implements in the oral rounds.
8. All writing materials used are provided by the spelling bee. No other printed or electronic material is allowed in the competition area. Spellers are to write or print legibly and erase cleanly, placing only one word on a line. Block letters (i.e., printing in capitals) are acceptable, but the block letter “I” must have cross bars at both the top and the bottom of the upright. Failure to meet these requirements shall result in words being judged as incorrectly spelled. The Scoring Judge is the final authority in case of questionable printing or writing.
9. Written test papers will be returned to the Spellers as quickly as possible. Spellers may challenge the grading of their written tests before the oral rounds start. It is the Speller’s responsibility to contact the designated official during that time period with a challenge. No appeals will be entertained after that period concludes.
10. A random selection determines the order of the Spellers in the oral rounds. Each Speller remains in the oral rounds until s/he incorrectly spells a total of two words. When a Speller misspells a word, a bell will sound and the correct spelling will be provided. Eliminated Spellers will leave the stage after the current round of words is completed. The Judges’ decisions are final and absolute.
11. Spellers must speak clearly and loudly and slowly enough to be understood by the Judges. Pronunciation of the word by the Speller before beginning spelling in the oral rounds is required to ensure that the Speller has correctly heard the word to be spelled. The Speller may make three different attempts to spell the word correctly. Final pronunciation of the spelled word is required to indicate completion of the spelling, after which no further attempts may be made. Any challenges in the oral rounds must occur on stage before the next Speller’s word is pronounced.
12. If more than one Speller ties for first, second or third place, a separate spell-off between the tied Spellers will be held. Once the spell-off is completed, the oral rounds will continue.
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