Mason Stonehocker won the 2022 Yellowstone County Spelling Bee at MSU Billings Petro Hall on Saturday.
"Well it was crazy because I got second place in my school spelling bee," Stonehocker said. "And this time I just studied really hard and I won."
Stonehocker is a 7th grader at Riverside Middle School.
Near the end he first spelled "quiddity."
To win, he had to spell two words in the last round, so he spelled "physicists."
"Up there I was stunned because I just couldn't believe it," Stonehocker said.
The number of students was a little more than half of normal with 36 students competing.
Organizers say registration fees and COVID may have contributed to fewer students.
The Breakfast Flakes, Paul Mushaben and Mark Wilson, from KCTR, Cat Country, served as emcees.
The top five advanced to the Treasure State Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 12 in Bozeman:
- 1st - Mason Stonehocker, Riverside Middle School 7th grader
- 2nd - Emily Lindstrom, Lockwood Middle School 8th grader
- 3rd - Lily Casey, Will James Middle School 7th grader
- 4th - Ethan French, Riverside Middle School 8th grader
- 5th - James Lasater, Indendent School 6th grader
Those finishing in the top 8 received prizes:
- 6th - Abigail Breetz, St. Francis Catholic School 7th grader
- 7th - Zoe Braley, Lockwood Middle School 8th grader
- 8th - Ella Szudera, Elysian School 6th grader
After competition, Stonehocker's family hugged and greeted him just off the stage.
"Oh it felt great," he said. "All I wanted to do was make my family proud. It's awesome."