Riotious Word Play

Grown-Up Spelling Bee combines comic commentary and riotous word play for a good cause

Grown-Up Spelling Bee combines comic commentary & riotous word play

828 Joe Herman, left, and Boran Buturovic at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Joe Herman, left, and Boran Buturovic. Photo by © Jenny Antill
877 Nic Phillips, from left, Annie Eifler and Jeffrey James Binney at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Nic Phillips, from left, Annie Eifler and Jeffrey James Binney. Photo by © Jenny Antill
339 James and Kathleen Jennings at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
James and Kathleen Jennings. Photo by © Jenny Antill
299 Cal and Hannah McNair at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Cal and Hannah McNair. Photo by © Jenny Antill
883 Kathleen Jennings and Katy Hays at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Kathleen Jennings, left, and Katy Hays. Photo by © Jenny Antill
224 Evan and Nicole Katz, from left, and Holly and Steve Radom at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Evan and Nicole Katz, from left, and Holly and Steve Radom. Photo by © Jenny Antill
872 Amber Wootton and William Griffin at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Amber Wootton and William Griffin. Photo by © Jenny Antill
737 Joe Herman, left, and Boran Buturovic at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Joe Herman, left, and Boran Buturovic. Photo by © Jenny Antill
646 Susie Criner at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Susie Criner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
274 Nicole Katz, left, and Carolyn Dorros at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Nicole Katz, left, and Carolyn Dorros. Photo by © Jenny Antill
269 Nellie Connally, left, and Kristen Olson Lyons at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Nellie Connally, left, and Kristen Olson Lyons. Photo by © Jenny Antill
212 Coble and Jeff Jorgensen at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Coble and Jeff Jorgensen. Photo by © Jenny Antill
210 James and Erin Stewart at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
James and Erin Stewart. Photo by © Jenny Antill
187 Michael Pipkin, from left, Laura Sheedy and Sydney and Robert Eifler at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Michael Pipkin, from left, Laura Sheedy and Sydney and Robert Eifler. Photo by © Jenny Antill
161 James and Kathleen Jennings, from left, and David and Samantha Kennedy at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
James and Kathleen Jennings, from left, and David and Samantha Kennedy. Photo by © Jenny Antill
149 Spencer and Allison Stasney at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
Spencer and Allison Stasney. Photo by © Jenny Antill
828 Joe Herman, left, and Boran Buturovic at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
877 Nic Phillips, from left, Annie Eifler and Jeffrey James Binney at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
339 James and Kathleen Jennings at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
299 Cal and Hannah McNair at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
883 Kathleen Jennings and Katy Hays at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
224 Evan and Nicole Katz, from left, and Holly and Steve Radom at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
872 Amber Wootton and William Griffin at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
737 Joe Herman, left, and Boran Buturovic at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
646 Susie Criner at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
274 Nicole Katz, left, and Carolyn Dorros at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
269 Nellie Connally, left, and Kristen Olson Lyons at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
212 Coble and Jeff Jorgensen at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
210 James and Erin Stewart at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
187 Michael Pipkin, from left, Laura Sheedy and Sydney and Robert Eifler at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
161 James and Kathleen Jennings, from left, and David and Samantha Kennedy at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015
149 Spencer and Allison Stasney at the Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee January 2015

You know what they say: Spelling is only noticeable when it's wrong.

Brave and courageous were the scholarly teams that stepped up to the lectern as they attempted to understand, sound and guess their way through difficult vocabulary at the 23rd Annual Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee that benefited Houston Center for Literacy.

Add adult bevs and riotous commentary courtesy of Los Angeles-based funny dude Jeffrey James Binney and you know what that spells? Mayhem. The kind of mayhem that's welcomed at a fundraiser at the River Oaks Country Club, of course. Because despite fun and games, the throng of 300 was on a mission to support chairs Kathleen and James Jennings in honoring Katy Hays and Hannah and Cal McNair while feeding the nonprofit's piggy bank, which by the end of the soirée totaled $185,000.

 "Every now and then, Mother Nature likes to scare us with haboobs."

Thank goodness there were studious folks who were indeed smarter than a fifth grader and who had the brainy prowess to spell "haboobs," which Binney used in the sentence, "Every now and then, Mother Nature likes to scare us with haboobs." (Haboobs are walls of dust or sandstorms that occur in African and Middle Eastern deserts.)

When it came to the final round, it was Joe Herman and Boran Buturovic of team "I can barely spell M-L-P," sponsored by Kim and Dan Tutcher, who earned the big trophy for getting "euphuistic" correct. (The definition of "euphuistic" is "an affectedly elegant literary style of the late 1500s and early 1600s, characterized by elaborate alliteration, antitheses, and similes.")

The crowd included Nic Phillips and Linda Marshall as pronouncer panelists plus Audrey and Brandon Cochran, Clyde Hays, Cathy and Joe Cleary, Sarah and Bradley Bracewell, Paige and William Griffin, Allison and Spencer Stasney, Susie and Sanford Criner, Sydney and Robert Eifler, Jane and Gus Eifler, Lyndsey and Brett Zorich, Jeremy Radcliffe, David Mincberg and City Council members Jack Christie and Ellen Cohen.

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