March 11, 2017. Louisville, KY.   – 11-year-old Tara Singh of Louisville is a two-time champion after winning her second consecutive Derby Festival Spelling Bee. Singh also won the competition in 2016.  She correctly spelled “Gloxinia” – Any of several tropical South American plans of the genus Sinningia. The competition was held in the Bomhard Theater at the Kentucky Center for the Arts (501 W. Main Street in Louisville). Ashley DeVore of Fayette County, Kentucky, was runner-up in the competition among students from Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Singh represents Jefferson County Private Schools and is a 7th grade student at Louisville Classical Academy. This was her fourth year competing in the Derby Festival Spelling Bee. 61 students from 59 counties in Kentucky and Southern Indiana participated in today’s 24th annual Ford Motor Company Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee, going through 238 words, 10 full rounds and 1 championship round.

“I feel exhausted right now,” said Singh after being named champion of the bee. “I was definitely nervous. But, I love competing and am just honored to be here with all these other great spellers.” Singh will not get any time off from studying. She’ll compete in another bee next weekend in hopes of qualifying to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer.

For today’s win, Singh received the John & Joan Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund, a $10,000 savings bond at maturity from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation, the Derby Festival’s charitable arm.  She also received a Britannica online subscription gift certificate, Blue Orange Games: Speedeebee, an Amazon.com gift card and a trophy. Singh will also have the opportunity to ride the Winner’s Float in the 62nd annual Republic Bank Pegasus Parade on May 4th.

Ashley DeVore received the Barbara Cox Memorial Scholarship, a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond for finishing runner-up in the 24th annual competition. JC Hyde of Floyd County, Indiana, finished third, winning a $3,000 savings bond. Ava Chuppe of McCracken County finished fourth and received a $1,500 savings bond. Ariti Gani of Warren County finished fifth, winning a $1,000 savings bond. The prize money is provided by the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation – the Derby Festival’s charitable arm.

The Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee is sponsored by Ford Motor Company, with Media Sponsors Kentucky Monthly and 840WHAS.

The Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation.  It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

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