Kentucky Home To Four Scripps National Spelling Bee Winners

Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The 95th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee will kick off on Wednesday, May 31st from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Centre in Maryland, with the competition finals airing on Ion Television Network at 8pm EST on June 1st.

The world’s largest and oldest spelling bee, this premier event is the culmination of a series of local tournaments held across the country and select international locations. A highly anticipated, nationally televised event, in 2022 the Scripps National Spelling Bee brought in 7.5 million viewers.

We break away from Kentucky sportsbooks updates to bring you which National Spelling Bee winners are from the Bluegrass State.

2023 National Spelling Bee Rules and Regulations

This year 231 kids and young adults will compete to be crowned the nation’s best speller.

Per the rules, all contestants must be under the age of fourteen as of August 31st, 2022, and they cannot be past the eighth grade as of February 1st of this year. Previous champions are also ineligible.

In anticipation of this epic clash of phonics phenomenons, BetKentucky is looking back on nearly a decade of past spelling bee champions to see how contestants from the Bluegrass State have fared in the past.

So which state has had the most Scripps National Spelling Bee winners?

To find out, BetKentucky used the List of Scripps National Spelling Bee champions - Wikipedia to determine which states are home to the most champions.

State Number of Spelling Bee Winners
New York3
New Jersey3
North Carolina2

Be sure to bookmark our best Kentucky sports betting apps page for all the latest information you need to prepare for sportsbooks coming to Kentucky.

How Do Kentucky Spelling Bee Contestants Stack Up?

With fifteen past winners, Texas is clearly America’s spelling bee capital. However, Kentucky holds the unique distinction of claiming the first two Spelling Bee champs as its own.

11-year-old Frank Neuhauser won the 1st Annual National Spelling Bee in 1925 by correcting spelling the word “gladiolus.” He was awarded $500.00 in gold and his hometown of Louisville threw a parade to celebrate his victory.

The following year in 1926, fellow Kentuckian 13-year-old Pauline Bell won the 2nd annual competition.

Kentucky’s early success may be a result of the competition's inaugural sponsor being the local Louisville newspaper, The Courier-Journal. It wouldn’t be until 1941 that the E.W. Scripps Broadcasting Company would come aboard as the chief sponsor of the event.

Since the 1926 Bee, two other Kentucky kids have won the competition. In 1937, Waneeta Beckley won by correctly spelling “promiscuous,” and then in 1938 Marian Richardson successfully spelled the word “sanitarium” to bring the top prize back home to Louisville.

No other Kentucky resident has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee since 1938. But perhaps the state’s 84-year losing streak will be snapped by one of the three local students competing in the finals this year.


Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker is a writer for A writer for film, television, and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with an actual Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full-time as a documentary filmmaker and producer.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: