Fifty students in fifth through eighth grades from the Twin Cities metro area will take part in a regional spelling bee Saturday at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.
The winner will get to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, D.C.
The contest can be intense for the students and their supporters, said head judge Dennis Bluhm.
"I don't think so much as a spectator sport," he said. "However, if you're a parent or a teacher, it's pretty exciting."
Bluhm did not divulge which words students will be asked to spell, but in the past, he said, words like "sultan, gunnysack, hibachi, predicate, threshold, ventilate, anchovy" have all made an appearance.
The contest is one of five held around Minnesota to send finalists to the National Spelling Bee. It begins at 12:30 p.m., and organizers say it should last four to six hours.