Ride comes to an end for Park City spelling champ | ParkRecord.com

Ride comes to an end for Park City spelling champ

Brody Dicks may not have won the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

But between competing in the qualifying The Park Record Spelling Bee and the famous national bee, the fifth-grader from Weilenmann School of Discovery never stood in front of the microphone and faced a word he couldn’t spell.

Both times he stepped onto the big stage at the Scripps National Spelling Bee Wednesday, in front of the anxious crowd and ESPN’s cameras, he nailed his word.

However, Dicks was eliminated due to a tiebreaking procedure designed to whittle down the field to 50 after the first two rounds of spelling. The tiebreaker was determined by a preliminary vocabulary and spelling test each of the participants took before the competition, meaning he finished tied for 50th. And he will always have the satisfaction of knowing he never missed a word.

"We were just elated," said Elizabeth Dicks, his mother. "We realized there was a chance of him not going through because of the test, just because of the sheer number of kids left standing. But for him to have the positive experience of success on this stage softened the blow. You don’t ever have that disappointment of spelling your word wrong on national TV."

Brody Dicks said he felt nervous onstage, but he was excited to get his words right. The first was ‘souvenir,’ while the second was ‘enthalpy.’

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"I wanted to get my words right and hoped there were 50 people or less left," he said. "But there was a ton of people left."

In addition to the spelling bee, Dicks and his family participated in activities such as a Memorial Day picnic in Washington, D.C., where the bee was held, and a trip to the zoo. Elizabeth Dicks said the entire week was a wonderful experience.

"It’s fabulous for families," she said. "I really think all of us are genuinely hoping there’s a lot more competition at The Park Record Spelling Bee next year. People should take advantage of the chance to be involved in this and come here. The whole week is impressive. It’s about celebrating and rewarding these kids for the hard work they put in. The actual spelling portion of it is just a little bit of it."

Dicks’ family also had a chance to tour the Pentagon, but they chose instead to watch the final rounds of the bee.

"He said, ‘I want to watch people spell,’" Elizabeth Dicks said. "He’s building his strategy for next year and really seeing what it takes to make it."

As for his preparation for next year’s The Park Record Spelling Bee, he’s planning on getting a head start.

"I’m going to have a nice, fat 10.5-pound reading project this summer," he said.