By Patrick Winderl
"That is correct. David, you are the winner."
Those were the words that signaled the end of tense competition and triggered an explosive response from the audience.
Fourth-grader David Keltgen remained quietly in his seat on the stage of the Havre High School auditorium as he was pronounced the victor of the second annual Sunnyside Intermediate School Geography Bee.
In a commendable display of steely nerves and clutch performance, David beat nine other students in the final round to win the event. In front of a captive audience, and facing stiff opposition, David correctly answered two of the final three questions to secure the victory.
Hundreds of fourth- and fifth-grade students were on hand Tuesday to witness the bee, which lasted 30 suspenseful minutes.
The humble winner was presented a medal for his accomplishment.
"I feel good, I guess," he said following the event. "My parents will be proud of me."
Maggie Long placed second in the competition, with fellow student Demi Billy taking third place.
The other Sunnyside students participating were Connor Brurud, Michell Herigon-Warden, John Perrodin, Garrett Gilbert, Michael Weaselboy, Madi- son Ruff and Dillion Demontiney.
Round one consisted of two questions given to all contestants. The second question of the first round proved to be the most difficult for the students, with not a single correct answer being given.
All but David, Maggie, Demi and Garrett were eliminated in the first round.
During second-round action, Maggie received a short reprieve after answering the first question correctly. The only one of the four to do so, she automatically advanced to the final round. The three remaining competitors struggled with difficult questions until David finally found a correct answer and advanced to the final round against Maggie.
Demi and Garrett were left to battle for third place in a face-off that Demi ultimately won.
Final-round play consisted of three questions given to both Maggie and David. The pair had 15 seconds to write their answers on a dry-erase board for the examination of the judges. The three final questions tested the knowledge of the contestants about the locations of Yucca Mountain (Nevada) and Chesapeake Bay (Maryland), and the currencies of Mexico and Argentina (both use pesos).
David gave correct responses to the last two questions to beat Maggie.
The questions were administered by Jerry Vandersloot, assistant principal at Havre High. Judging the event were high school students Sara Suek, Brooke Schwan, and Levi Breise.
David will now take a written test to qualify for the state competition. Should he advance from that level, he will go to the national geography bee in Washington, D.C., in May.