The last dozen winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee have been Indian-American. They share more than heritage.
All 12 have participated in the nonprofit North South Foundation's annual spelling bee for children of Indian descent. The foundation is one of two groups that stage national spelling bees exclusively for kids with South Asian heritage.
TRENDING NOW: Bakersfield police release names of suspect, police officers in Sunday machete incident
The minor-league bees give Indian-Americans additional opportunities to study, compete and hone their skills. Both hold their finals in August, three months after the splashy National Spelling Bee finals, which are broadcast on ESPN.
Paige Kimble, the longtime director of the National Spelling Bee, says she hasn't heard any complaints that Indian-Americans have an unfair advantage because they compete in other high-stakes bees. She says the winner is always the speller "who works the hardest."