March 4, 2016. Louisville, KY.   – Students from around Kentucky and Southern Indiana will compete in the 23rd annual Ford Motor Company Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 5th.  The competition starts at 11 a.m. in the Bomhard Theatre at the Kentucky Center for the Arts (501 W. Main Street in Louisville). 63 students representing 60 counties will compete on Saturday.  They qualified by winning their respective school and county bees.

Said Kimberly Hofmann, Ford Zone Manager for the Cincinnati region: “Ford’s commitment to driving a brighter future in Kentucky is well served by supporting this important educational event. As one of the top employers in the state, Ford is proud to help recognize the dedicated and talented students from all over the region in the Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee.”

 The overall champion of this year’s Spelling Bee will receive the John & Joan Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund, a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond at maturity.  2nd Place receives the Barbara Cox Memorial Scholarship, a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond at maturity.  The next three top finishers also receive savings bonds – $3,000 for third, $1,500 for fourth and $1,000 for fifth. The prize money will be provided by the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation – the Derby Festival’s charitable arm.

“One of our more far-reaching events, this competition showcases talented students from around Kentucky and Southern Indiana and it’s always a nail-biter up until the final word is spelled,” said Mike Berry, KDF President and CEO.  “We’re thankful our Foundation is able to offer savings bonds to the top five spellers. We hope they’ll be able to use those funds to help with college expenses.”

In addition to a $10,000 saving bond, the overall Spelling Bee champion will receive a Britannica online subscription gift certificate, Blue orange games: Speedeebee, an Amazon.com gift card and a trophy. The winner will also have the opportunity to ride the Winner’s Float in the 61st annual Republic Bank Pegasus Parade on May 5th.

 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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