Virginia girl, 6, youngest ever in U.S. spelling bee

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 13, 2012 12:53 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 6-year-old U.S. girl will become the youngest contestant ever in the Scripps National Spelling Bee after winning a regional competition in Virginia.

Lori Anne Madison, of Woodbridge, Virginia, won the Prince William County spelling contest earlier this month, beating out 21 top elementary and middle school competitors. Her winning word: "vaquero," a word of Spanish origin meaning cowboy.

"My parents quiz me. I read lists and I have a really good memory," Madison, who is home-schooled, told Fox's WTTG-TV, a Washington-area station.

Madison was believed to be the youngest competitor ever, the Cincinnati-based National Spelling Bee said on Tuesday. Based on incomplete records, the previous youngest contestant was 8, it said.

The spelling contest has been held annually since 1925. This year's event will be May 29 to June 1 in Washington, with 277 participants from the United States, U.S. territories and other countries.

Madison will be sponsored by the News & Messenger newspaper of Manassas, Virginia.

(Reporting By Ian Simpson; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Philip Barbara)