Marathon Spelling Bee Comes to Stifling End

An epic Spelling Bee face-off came to an end after 66 rounds and a trie-breaking between an 11-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy. INSIDE EDITION was there for the final rounds.

Two kids captivated the nation when their epic spelling bee battle lasted 66 rounds! It ended in a tie when the judges ran out of words.

But there could only be one winner. INSIDE EDITION was there this past weekend for the big tie-breaker between Sophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma.

Watch INSIDE EDITION's interview with Hoffman and Sharma

Hoffman is 10 years old and Sharma is 13. They’ve gotten so close they even share a special handshake.

As the contest got underway at the Central Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri, they both really nailed it. It went like this for 29 rounds. 

Suddenly, a word came up that should have been a cinch for Hoffman: “Stifling.” Just like that, it was game over. Hoffman was in tears but Sharma comforted his battle weary competitor with a hug. Sharma was a gracious winner.

Sharma said, “For a 5th grader to go up against a 13-year-old and tie for so that long-- is just crazy.”

Hoffman said she'll be back next year and had these words of support for her sparring partner: “I'm gonna cheer him on when he goes to nationals. And I'm really excited for him.”