Big time trivia

Esme ulland-joy, 10

April 17, 2020 next trivia

In 236 days from now my family will be packing our car and heading to Stevens Point for the World’s Largest Trivia Contest. The contest is run by 90FM WWSP. It will be their 51st year putting on the contest. Going to trivia has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember. My dad founded our team in 1987. Back then, our team name was The Joy of Trivia, then for one year we were called the Gene Autry’s Fan Club. Now our team name is Gene Autry’s Ninja Warriors. This year we placed 26th out of 400+ teams. Our best placement ever was 18th out of 400+.

During Trivia, we listen to the questions on the radio, and we have the time of two songs to answer. Our team’s headquarters is my grandpa’s basement. Each year, we take notes on movies, Oscars, and pay attention to trivia during commercials and even on the back of cereal boxes. Then we pack up our notes and bring them to the HQ for trivia. My grandpa has an entire room of magazines, movie notes and other things that might help us during trivia.

Every year of trivia has a different theme. This past year for trivia 50 the theme was “Trivia 5-0.” The year before that was, “The Trivia Rush of 49.” The person who runs the contest on the radio is called “The Oz.” He likes to pick funny themes for trivia. There is a shop for trivia merchandise. In that shop you also have to turn in different categories of questions there. I like walking there with my mom to turn in questions.

If you walked into the basement during trivia, you would see people everywhere on computers: on the couch, sitting at the bar, and at the desks. There would be people typing in our chat room, calling in our answer, or searching through the numerous binders full of movie notes.

I am in charge of the snacks during trivia. Since this contest goes on without stopping for three days, this is an important job to do. Before trivia each year, the bar is stocked with food. What I do is lay out food so people don’t have to stop searching for answers. I also have helped go shopping for food with my aunt.

During the last hour of trivia this year I started calling in answers. My first call-in was during hour 56. It was harder for me to help search answers though, because I didn’t have a computer. Luckily, I just got a computer so next year I will be able to help search more.

We have a lot of people on our team. My dad teaches quiz bowl at Northern Michigan University, and some of his students play from Marquette. They sign into our chat room, and search for the answers like everyone else. If they find one they have to type it in. This year we used a new chat room. The nice thing about this chat room is that even after trivia ends people are still on it, chatting about trivia and other completely random stuff. Sometimes when I check the chat room I see people posting memes in the off-season chat.

My brother Liam is making a mini trivia contest for anyone on our team to join. It is called the WUPTC (Wisconsin Upper Peninsula Trivia Contest). He made it with our cousin, Frank, and we will use our chat room for it again.

Every year at trivia there are also running questions, music questions, and questions about pictures we get at the beginning of the contest. I love doing the running question. It is kind of like a scavenger hunt. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, someone from every trivia team meets in downtown Stevens Point. We get a list of clues, and have to run around downtown to find the answers.

Trivia is an important part of my life in other ways. Like I said, my brother is making a trivia contest for the team to compete in mini teams. My mom and I are making an all-girl team together for the WUPTC.

Earlier, I mentioned that my dad teaches quiz bowl at NMU. He sometimes gets out his middle school questions for my brother and me to practice with. I remember from a while ago, my brother and I sitting on our parents’ bed, listening to my dad read quiz bowl questions. Since we didn’t have any buzzers, we just raised our hands when we had the answer. I remember Liam helping me with a question I thought was extremely difficult. The answer was “a cookie.” We would often do this when my mom was out of town or not home so we could be in their bed. Another thing we sometimes do is go to Buffalo Wild Wings. One reason we love going there is because we like playing in the trivia contest on the tablets they let you use. I have come in first in the country once with my dad.

Trivia has always been a big part of our family, and every day I search on the computer “How many days until April 17, 2020?” I can’t wait until the next World’s Largest Trivia Contest, but until then, I am sure there are many quiz bowl contests in a bed, Buffalo Wild Wings trivia games, and movie note-taking ahead of me.

Editor’s note: Esme Ulland-Joy, is 10 and will be in the sixth grade at Bothwell Middle School. Esme loves dancing, reading and trivia.


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