CONTACT: TOM SNEE
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Jan. 30, 2003
UI Students, Staff Help Trivia Team Win Contest
Several University of Iowa students and staff members
were on a team that won its third consecutive 2003 Great Midwest Trivia Contest
last weekend, one of the most prestigious trivia contests/endurance tests
in the country.
The contest, sponsored by Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., brings
together more than 50 teams with hundreds of contestants for a 50-hour marathon
of questions that lasts from Friday evening to the following Monday morning.
Last weekend, organizers asked 351 questions, such as:
a. What was the slogan of the Republican Party in 1928?
b. What was the pen name of Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Golker?
c. How many dogs return in the painting “Hunters in the Snow?” (The
answers appear below.)
“It’s really a research contest more than it is a trivia contest
because they ask questions that most people aren’t going to know off the
top of their heads,” said John Brogan, a third-year student in the UI College
of Law and team captain. “It’s more of a test of your ability to
find information and how fast you can find it.”
Brogan’s team, called “The Federal Reserve Bank of Kaukauna:
Lowering Our Interest Five Points at a Time” – named, in part,
after the team’s sponsor -- consisted of about 40 people, 15 of them
UI students or employees. The team’s nerve center was two rooms in
Brogan’s family’s home in Kaukauna, Wis., not far from Appleton.
(“My parents conveniently leave the country during the contest,” Brogan
said.) The center had seven phone lines, 10 cell phones and 30 computers,
most with Internet connections. The questions were asked at five-minute intervals
over Lawrence University’s student radio station, which dedicates itself
to the contest for the weekend. Teams have three minutes to find the answer
in any way possible and phone it in to the trivia masters. Five points are
awarded for each correct answer until the final hour, called the Garruda
Hour (nobody knows why), when questions become increasingly difficult and
point values increase. The final question, called the Super Garruda, is worth
Brogan said there was no break from the questions during the 50 hours.
Players slept in shifts, and several of Brogan’s friends volunteered
to cook throughout the weekend to keep the players well-fed.
“My contention is that if you feed people well and give them the
potential to thrive, they will,” he said.
This year’s UI team won the tournament with 1,475 points by answering
82 percent of the questions correctly. The second place team, “Six
Feet Under,” finished well behind with 1,335 points. Brogan has captained
a team consisting, in part, of UI competitors for seven years; his teams
have won the championship five times and been runner-up twice.
Although the competition is serious, the contest is not. The first question
is asked at 10:00:37 p.m. on Friday, the last at 11:59:59 p.m. Sunday. Brogan’s
team’s various championship trophies over the years have included a
Fred Flintstone bank, two mason jars filled with the butts of cigarettes
smoked by the trivia masters throughout the tournament, and, this year, a
fuzzy bathroom scale that Brogan left in his parent’s basement. Trophy
presentation ceremonies are held whenever the winning team shows up to claim
it; this year’s was at 3 a.m. on Monday.
The UI participants included students from the UI law school and graduate
students in engineering and English, as well as employees from the Academic
Technology Department. Students include, from the College of Law: Fiona Ruthven,
Kyle Kaiser, Matt Dendinger, Rob Hodgson, Jen Erickson and Elton Wong; English
graduate students Abby Metcalf and Patty Brogan; Engineering graduate student
Sarah Vigmostad; and Academic Technology employees Denny Crall, Ken Clinkenbeard,
Stewart McLain, Kaspar Stromme, Aprille Clarke and Frank Broz.
Also on the team was Rosie Raymond-Sidel, a student at Northwest Junior
High and daughter of UI Law professors Mark Sidel and Margaret Raymond.
Answers to trivia questions: a. “A chicken in every pot and a car
in every garage.” b. Robert Traver. c. 14.