The “Dad’s Shop” came away the spelling victors at the annual “GRATE” Altus Spelling Bee, held April 2 at the WOSC Band Room. After 22 rounds, that team spelled “temporal”, and the officials declared them the championship spellers. The champion spelling team members of “Dad’s Shop”, sponsored by Cris and Steve Jensen, were a father/daughter duo of Steve Jensen and Stephanie Jensen. Joe and Kathy Stafford of The Sign Farm in Elmer provided specialized license tags stating the honor for the winners.
The runner-up honor was won by the “Bunsen & Beaker” team.
The runner-up team was sponsored by the Western Oklahoma State College. “Bunsen & Beaker” team members from the college were Lisa Chaney and Don Scroggins.
Twelve teams gave their best shot at spelling the words pronounced by Col Todd A. Hohn, Commander for the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base.
The spelling contest judges were Hollis resident Winford Mike Warren, Associate Judge, District Court, and Joan Wilcoxen, Executive Director for the Altus Armed Forces, YMCA.
The traveling plaque for the best spelling team from the Altus Air Force Base will have an engraved plate designating the honor going to the “McSly” team for the Air Force Sergeant Association with team members Mitchelblake Sly, Tony McCowan, and James Williams. Their sponsors were the Air Force Sergeant Association and Steve Francis. The engraved plaque will be displayed at the base library.
Some teams also wore costumes focused on various themes. The Sign Farm again provided Best Costume Award license tags to the “Thunder B’s” team with sports and bee attire worn by Kelley Duncan, Valerie Roberts, and Candace Willingham. They were sponsored and represented the Aldonian Club. The second place costume honor was given to the “Bunsen & Beaker” team from WOSC. The “Word Nerds” from the Altus Walmart team of Sarah Standard, Hailey Solis, and Ariana Goff won the third place costume award.
The “Fonetic Flyers” won the Best Name accolades for team members Lt Col Will Friar, Capt Chris Yeager, and SSgt Jennifer Bruce from the 97th Operations Group at the Air Force Base. Their team was sponsored by Nub and Cyndie Smith Agency, LLC. Another team called “Bee Lievers” from the First Christian Church with Sarah Skiles, Rebecca Cullen, and Lydia Palmer was awarded second place name winner. This team was sponsored by Phil and Ruth Carson and Brenda Risner. Third place name honor was awarded to Jaime Colon and Skyilar Duarte, dubbed the “Wanna Bees”, and the team was sponsored by the Altus Walmart. Winners for the best costume and best name were determined by State Senator Mike Schulz and State Representative Charles Ortega.
The “Sympathy Award” for misspelling the first word was presented to the team members on the “Bedlam Bees” team, sponsored by Altus Mini Storage and Jim & Jacquelyn Parrish.
GPLC Vice President Gayla Smith opened the spelling bee with introductions. She complimented Western Oklahoma State College for their continued support with the facility for the fundraiser.
David Braddock from Dobbs and Braddock Insurance was the master of ceremonies and helped direct the spellers with some humorous remarks. “It was a great fund raiser as usual,” summarized Braddock, “and tallied over $4,300 for the worthwhile service for literacy.”
The spelling contest judges were the Associate Judge for District Court Winford Mike Warren from Hollis and Joan Wilcoxen, Executive Director for the Altus Armed Forces, YMCA.
The other teams participating were Altus Firefighters Local #2749, BeeOE Bombers, and The End of the ‘Word’ as We Know It. All the spelling bee team members received honey in bear containers from the Broadway United Supermarket.
Other team sponsors or organizations represented that have not been mentioned included Altus Public Schools, Altus Firefighters Local #2749, Oklahoma Youth Academy Charter School, and M.A.D. Auto Sales.
In addition to the individuals, groups and businesses that sponsored teams in support of this literacy fundraiser, other financial contributions came from Altus Finance, Inc., Ag Preference, Altus Kiwanis, Altus Lions Club, Altus Literacy Club, AMSCO Steel, Mary Ann Applebee, Kristen Balko, Roy and Donna (Hinton) Belli, Rick and Becky Cheaney, Pat Colville, Bruce Davis, Doug Dalton, Leslie Gelders, Chapter GU of Duke PEO, Frazer Bank, Dean and Karan Garrett, Katherine Hale, Ryan and Erin Howard, Ruth Kizziar, Jackson County Home & Community Education, Mission Corporation, NBC Oklahoma, Putnam Toyota, Mel and Jean Rader, Shamrock Bank, Stockmans Bank, Woodmen of the World – Lodge 111, Harold and Margaret Worrell, and Tom and Ellen Yates.
Appreciation is also expressed to those making additional in-kind contributions or supplies which included Western Oklahoma State College, AAFB Public Affairs, Altus Printing, Altus Times, Jeanine Berrong, Cable One, Carl & Carmens, Leslie Gelders of Edmond, Katherine Hale, KEYB Radio, KWHW Radio, Lawton Constitution, Donna Smith, Southern Prairie Library System, The Enterprise, and The Red River Sun.
Refreshments and door prizes were provided by the GPLC Board members. Robert Preston of Aquathin provided bottled water for the event.