BUTTE, Mont. -

The Butte-Silver Bow County spelling bee took place on Thursday inside the Montana Tech auditorium. 32 students from 11 different elementary and middle schools competed for the number one spot.

Six rounds went by with a lot of the participants eliminated earlier than expected. The students were judged by a four-person panel including the superintendent of schools, Judy Jonart.

NBC Montana talked to first-place winner Daniel Buckley, who is a seventh grader. He told us he still can't believe he won.

“I feel great. I’ve been to two other spelling bees and I haven't gotten that far in any of the other ones, but I feel like I've got to study lots and lots more," he said.

Buckley will advance to the statewide spelling bee in Billings on March 23.