'Gambado' spells fun
by Sherrie Norris
Gambado. To most people, it means a pair of large protective boots or gaiters fixed to a saddle. To the four-member team representing Appalachian Brian Estates at Tuesday's 12th annual Spelling Bee for Grown Ups, it means a coveted victory, the chance to own the traveling trophy and bragging rights for an entire year.
Phil Logan, Tove Holmer, Nancy Dennett and Pauline Leurie rose to fame as the "Appalachian Brainy Eccentrics" at the close of another successful fundraising event that drew 24 teams and dozens of spectators to the Watauga High School gymnasium.
Hosted each year by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, the spelling bee provided approximately two hours of fun as team members used everything they had -- from personal knowledge, skill, "Bee Bucks" and sheer luck -- to help raise money to support the local chamber and purchase books for preschoolers through the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program.
Held in conjunction with Watauga County Schools and the Watauga Education Foundation, the event was a huge success, said Chamber President Dan Meyer.
The majority of the 24 four-person teams, representing area businesses and organizations, came to the table with one thing on their minds: to "bee" the winners of one of the community's most anticipated contests of the year. All but the last team standing were forced to take the "walk of shame" during the elimination rounds.
Many were in costume and in fierce, but friendly, competition all the way to the nail-biting finish.
In addition to top prizes for the winners, awards were also presented to Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living Center's Wizard of Oz Team for best costumes, Blue Ridge Electric Coop's Power Spellers for best-decorated table and The Life Savers from LifeStore, for best team name.
The popular event, coming on the heels of the county's school spelling bees, welcomed Rebecca Anderson, this year's winner from Hardin Park Elementary School, and Hayden Uzelac from Blowing Rock.
Both students willingly offered their spelling skills to the highest bidders and kept their teams in action right up to the end.
"We always look for a great response from our community and we are never disappointed," said Meyer, who also served as "beekeeper.
Sponsors for the spelling bee included High Country Bank, The Town Tavern, Primos, Sagebrush, Panera Bread, Mellow Mushroom, High Country Vending and Blue Horse Promotions.