Apr 5, 2013 1:30 PM by Drew Trafton - Q2 News
BILLINGS- The best young minds in geography are gathering in Billings this morning as they prepare to test their mettle at the state-level competition of the National Geographic Bee.
The preliminary rounds kick off at Petro Theater on the campus of Montana State University-Billings shortly after 1 p.m. this afternoon.
Event organizers believe the final round will begin around 3 p.m..
The students competing today are the school champions from participating Montana elementary and junior high schools (4th-8th grade). Across the country, nearly 11,000 schools participated in the school-level competitions in November.
The winner of the statewide competition will receive $100, a DVD copy of "The Complete National Geographic" and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals of the competition (with a parent or guardian).
Montana's representative will then compete in a field of 100 nationwide finalists to become the 25th National Geographic Bee champion.
That competition will take place on May 20-22, and the final round will take place at the National Theater and will be hosted by "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.
The winner of the national competition will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society and an all expense paid trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic crew.
However, it's not only the first place winner who will walk away with impressive prizes and opportunities.The second and third place finishers receive $15,000 and $10,000 in college scholarships, and the top 10 national finalists for 2013, along with 2012's top 10, will be eligible for selection for the three-person team to represent the United States at the National Geographic World Championship in July.
That competition will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia.