ALBANY -- Bailey Nipper always has enjoyed history.
The Cordele home-schooled eighth-grader's passion for the subject made a difference when he captured the Southwest Georgia Home School Association's National Geographic Bee at Beattie Road Church of Christ Friday.
Competitors had to be no older than 15 years old and had to enrolled between the fourth and eighth grades.
Nipper beat Zack Harris by correctly answering: "Which small Asian country is home to eight of the 10 highest mountain peaks in the world?" Zack of Oakfield incorrectly answered, "Japan." Bailey said, "Nepal."
"It felt pretty good," Bailey said of his win. "I was sort of expecting to win, but not quite sure. I've always been fair at geography."
His mother, Melanie, said that Bailey only started practicing for the
competition this week. She has homeschooled Bailey for six years.
"But he's been studying history," she said. "That's been (his) favorite thing for six years."
Surprisingly, Zack said he wasn't too nervous in the championship round.
"I was pretty comfortable," the first-year home-schooler said. "I was all right (with losing); things happen. I was very shocked by the way I performed."
Bailey will have a chance to compete at the state level if his score is in the top 100 of scores in the state on a written test. Bailey must mail his test in by Jan. 31. The state competition is April 9 and usually is in Macon.
State winners win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete the 22nd annual National Geographic Bee with championship rounds on May 25-26. The first-place national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek will moderate the national finals on May 26 for a television broadcast.