In 1996, a young man ran into the gas station where I was working in Nekoosa shouting about the third ingredient of a candy bar. Once he found it the shelf he asked to use my phone since very few people had cell phones back then we allowed people to do that time to time for short local calls. His call didn't even include hello just the words "corn syrup". This was my first experience with Trivia.
I attended college at UWSP and worked at the college radio station 90fm WWSP, home of the World's Largest Trivia contest.
This was our executive staff in the Trivia Parade in 2002. There I am in the back in the tie dyed shirt.
Working trivia as an executive staff member is awesome. In 2002 I was station manager and I lived in Oz's upstairs apartment. Jim "Oz" Oliva writes the contest with John Eckendorf. The effort that these two put into writing this contest is unbelievable. Not only that, but they make sure the whole event...yes it's an event...comes together and goes off without a hitch leading the executive staff of the radio station every step of the way.
There is nothing like being on air during Trivia. I did a morning show for 9 years on the top country station in the market and now I do mid-days and still nothing compares. The energy that you feel from the excitement of the volunteers, players and other staff members is amazing and scary at the same time. Some teams are playing for the fun of it, but others are in it to win it and they are going to call and complain the second you make a mistake so you'd better be perfect.
The DJ reads the question twice, plays one song, reads the question once more, plays another song then shouts "phones down, phones down in the back." Then reads the question one more time to make sure to allow anyone who was on the phone giving an answer when the phone was ordered down time to finish up. Then the answer is read. The next question starts immediately and the cycle starts again. There are 8 questions per hour and the contest runs 54 straight hours.
Teams go without sleep, eating nothing but junk food and consuming soda and coffee around the clock. Okay there may be some beer too:
After graduating college I found Trivia time to be a very sad time because I missed it so much. When I started working for WDEZ a few years later I convinced my boss and my morning show partner Lee to do something with the contest. We got Subway involved and delivered party platters to teams.
We had so much fun hanging out with the teams and playing along.
I also make it a point to answer phones every year. If you've never volunteered answering phones you should sometime it's fun.
Trivia completely transforms Stevens Point. It becomes unrecognizable with all the team signs decorating houses and yards. Thousands of additional people flooding hotels and the streets. It is a wild and crazy adventure that comes out of a tiny little town, a little university and the largest student run radio station in the Midwest.
It's such a big deal there's even a movie about it! Here's the Triviatown trailer:
And it starts at 6pm tonight! LET'S PLAY TRIVIA!