The 77th Scripps National Spelling Bee was held on June 1-3, 2004 in Washington D.C..
265 contestants between age 9 and 15 took part in the three-day competition, which lasted 15 rounds. Contestants were given a 25 word written test on the first day, and 191 of the 265 contestants got their first word correct in the oral competition which began on day two. The combination of those first two steps (with one point for each correct written word, and three for the oral word, for a maximum possible score of 28 and a minimum of 18 needed to advance) reduced the initial field to 94. By the end of day two, 46 contestants remained.
Connor McTear, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from DeMasi Middle School in Marlton, New Jersey, and sponsored by the Courier Post, took first after spelling autochthonous. McTear’s prize package included $12,000 and engraved cup, plus additional prizes from sponsors including an additional $5,000. McTear had come in 16th in the prior year's competition.
Akshay Buddiga, a 13-year-old boy from Colorado Springs, Colorado, took second. At one point Buddiga briefly fainted while spelling a word, but stood up and spelled the word correctly. Buddiga's brother Pratyush won the 2002 competition.
Spellers faced a two-minute two limit per word, followed by a 30 second countdown clock, with the one-time ability to request one minute of bonus time....LESS