Spelling bee

So I watched Spellbound yesterday. And it got me thinking, why do we have spelling bees? I mean not only do we now have spell-check on the computer, but before computers they had dictionaries didn't they? So what is so great about being able to say that you can spell better than someone else? I can't really spell and it hasn't held me back. And it's really the luck of the draw during the spelling bee isn't it? You could know all the words that the folks ahead of you spell, and then get up to the mike and not know the word they give you. Months and months of studying out the window, just like that. And they give such ODD words, words we probably don't even have to know how to spell!

And why is it called a spelling "bee"?