Virginia Man Wins Spelling Title After 51 Years

It took Michael Petrina Jr. 51 years to finally win a national spelling bee.

The Arlington, Va., man bested 45 other spellers older than 50 to win the AARP's annual National Spelling Bee Saturday in Cheyenne. The 64-year-old's winning word was "woad," a plant whose leaves yield a blue dye.

AARP spokeswoman Joanne Bowlby says Petrina won his state's national spelling bee when he was 13, but then lost at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

In second place Saturday was 55-year-old Scott Firebaugh of Knoxville, Tenn., and in third place was 66-year-old Gil Couts of Bigfork, Mont.

Petrina won $500, a trophy and dictionary kit.

The AARP bee started in 1996.

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