The stereotype that emphatically fits Tim — as well as nearly everyone else at the bee — is the one that can't be avoided: the nerd factor.
The nerd issue came up recently when Tim, filling out a questionnaire for the bee, wrote down Spock from "Star Trek" as his role model.
"We were like, 'You can't put that down, people are going to think you're a nerd,'" Jon Ruiter said. "And he said, 'Helloooo.'"
"He said, 'I'm in the National Spelling Bee. I'm already not cool, OK? There's my nerd factor already,'" Vicki Ruiter said.
However, even nerd-dom can go too far. Last year, Tim wrote in his bio that he does an impersonation of the unusual character Gollum from "Lord of the Rings." Even though his father says the portrayal is "spot on," Tim looks thoroughly embarrassed and sits silently when the subject is broached.