Updated: January 2, 2014 6:03AM
Eighty-two spellers recently competed for nearly three hours in the Orland Open Spelling Bee at the Orland Park Civic Center, spelling more than 500 words.
Brian Sullivan, of Orland Park, won the 35th annual spelling bee for the fourth time, correctly spelling “ukulele” and “tsunami.”
Sullivan and runner-up Tracy Brockmeier, of Chicago, battled for 20 words before Sullivan prevailed.
Third place went to Steve Lange, of Orland Park.
Other placers overall were Lenore Deantoni, of Crete (fourth); former winner Beverly Opelka, of Palos Park (fifth); Melanie Violetta, of Orland Park (sixth); Maria Moore, of Orland Park (seventh); Ken Ortiz, of Hickory Hills (eighth); Harlon Smith, of Park Forest (ninth): Brian Prosapio, of Crestwood (10th); former winner Melanie Mobley, of Rolling Meadows (11th); Indya Gettings, of Matteson (12th): and Larry Deweese, of Willowbrook (13th).
Trophy winners in the ages 8 to 10 category were Michael Trombetta, High Point School, Orland Park, first place; Olivia Sears, Incarnation School, Crestwood, second place; and Adele Szaflarski, Centennial School, Orland Park, third place.
The Junior High winner was Gettings, of Huth Middle School, Matteson. Meghana Kamineni, Lockport Junior High, Lockport, took second. Mehmood Hayear, of Montessori School, Lemont, took third.
The High School winner was Christian Perez, of Argo High School. Jeffrey Hall, Palatine High School, took second. Matthew Brennan, Andrew High School, finished third.
The event was co-sponsored by The Presbyterian Church in Orland Park and the village of Orland Park.
Mayor Dan McLaughlin gave a welcome speech. Village clerk John Melahek and Trustees Ed Schussler and Pat Gira were judges.
Amy Goebel and Margie Burnett, of The Presbyterian Church, conducted the spelling bee.
The 12 trophy and 24 ribbon winners came from 17 different towns and ranged from 8 years old to senior citizens.
Bill Smith, who got the idea from “Little Town on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, said the event is “open to anyone from anywhere.”