March 13, 2012 / 5:23 PM / 7 years ago

Six-year-old girl in National Spelling Bee

A spectator takes photos of contestants on stage before the start of the second phase of round three of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland, June 1, 2011. REUTERS/Molly Riley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 6-year-old girl will become the youngest contestant ever in the Scripps National Spelling Bee after winning a regional competition in Virginia.

Lori Anne Madison, of Woodbridge, Virginia, won the Prince William County spelling contest last week, beating out 21 top elementary and middle school competitors. Her winning word: “vaquero,” a word of Spanish origin meaning cowboy.

“My parents quiz me. I read lists and I have a really good memory,” Madison, who is home-schooled, told Fox’s WTTG-TV.

Madison was believed to be the youngest competitor ever, the Cincinnati-based National Spelling Bee said on Tuesday. Based on incomplete records, the previous youngest contestant was 8, it said.

The spelling contest has been held since 1925. This year’s event will be held May 29 to June 1 in Washington with 277 spellers from the United States, U.S. territories and other countries.

Madison will be sponsored by the News & Messenger newspaper of Manassas, Virginia.

Reporting By Ian Simpson; Editing by Daniel Trotta

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