Three Iowa Children Competing in National Bible Bee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Three Iowa youngsters are putting months of hard work to the test against 300 other contestants in this week's National Bible Bee.

Andrew Adams, 13, of Clive and Joshua and Taylor Bontrager, brothers from Kalona, beat out hundreds of children and teenagers from across the county for a chance at the final competition in Sevierville, Tenn., The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday.

Contestants in the final round are vying for $260,000.

"The closer it got, the more time I put into it. It's pretty much all I've done all day for the last week or so," said Adams, who has memorized more than 500 Bible verses in preparation for the Bible Bee.

Adams and others competing at the junior level recite 500 Bible verses.

Joshua Bontrager, 15, took fourth place nationally in the junior event last year. This year, he'll compete at the senior level, which requires reciting 700 Bible verses from the books of 1 and 2 Timothy.

His 10-year-old brother Taylor is participating in the event for the first time. He's competing at the primary level, which requires reciting 300 verses.

"It gives you a chance to have God's word in your heart, and I also like the competition," Taylor said.

Contestants have a set amount of time to recite a set number of verses, but they don't know which of the verses they'll be required to repeat until they arrive. There also is a written component.

Andrew's father, Garth, said it's been a lot of teamwork getting his son prepared.

"There's a lot of hard work attacking it from a lot of different angles to memorize all the verses," Garth Adams said.

The prize money is a nice incentive, but so is the chance to grow in their faith, said Joshua and Taylor's mom, Becky.

"It's an opportunity for them to really work on Bible memory, grow in character and grow in their relationship with God and other people," she said.

The competition, which began Wednesday, runs through Saturday.
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