The Moab Sun News team of (left to right) Sarah Finocchio, Andrew Mirrington and Tim Chappell were the winners of the 2014 Moab Adult Spelling Bee on Thursday, Feb. 27., an event that raised nearly ,000 for the Grand County Education Foundation. [Courtesy photo]

Sixteen three-person teams dressed in wacky costumes descended upon a packed house at Star Hall on Thursday, Feb. 27 to show off their abilities and raise money for the Grand County Education Foundation at the third annual Moab Adult Spelling Bee.

Organizers said the event raised about $2,750. The money goes into the foundation’s general pool of funds to be dispersed through grants for local educational and school-centered projects that support their mission of enhancing the education of children in Grand County. They have dispersed over $70,000 since 2009.

Costumes ranged from Central Utah Insurance team-member Ashley Pedersen’s impersonation of Flo from Progressive auto insurance to people dressed up as shower loofas on Moab Regional Hospital’s team, the Dirty Word Scrubbers. Eastern Utah Community Credit Union’s team, Leave it to the Beavers!, comprised of Maria Shupe, Nicole Bierschied and Darla Patterson, won best costume for the second consecutive year. The trio dressed like June Cleaver from the popular late ’50s and early ’60s TV show “Leave it to Beaver.”

The Moab Sun News trio of Andrew Mirrington, Tim Chappell and Sarah Finocchio defeated the The BEACON After School Program’s Beacon8trs in the 15th round, correctly spelling “connoisseur” to win the spelling bee.

“We had a lot of fun,” Mirrington said. “It’s a great event, for a great cause. I can’t wait til next year’s.”

The two teams went seven rounds head-to-head after the other 14 teams had been eliminated, both correctly spelling “prosciutto” and “lackadaisical” before spelling “bougainvillea” and “bourgeoisie” incorrectly. Each team subsequently got “halieutic” and ”vinaigrette” correct before the word “connoisseur” determined the winner.

Mirrington said he was glad to have teammates at the event.

“Thank god it’s a team format,” he said.” I think it would be mortifying to compete solo, the way that the kids do in most spelling bees.”

Patrick Foote, a member of the BEACON8trs, said the competition was fun and entertaining.

“It’s nice to see these locals having a good time laughing with each other,” he said.

Fellow BEACON8trs member Jessie Magleby said she was impressed by the number of spectators who came to watch the Bee.

“There was a good community spirit,” she said. “It was a lot of fun and there were a lot of great spellers.”

All who attended the event as either spectators or participants were eligible for an array of door prizes, including CDs, gift certificates to local businesses, t-shirts and so forth. Hams donated by Nicholas Foods were awarded to The Moab Sun News and EUCCU’s Leave It to the Beavers for the winning word and for best costume.

Adult Spelling Bee raises almost $3k for Education Foundation

“There was a good community spirit. It was a lot of fun and there were a lot of great spellers.”