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MINNESOTA MONTHLY First draft 4.4.01

Confessions of a Trivia Junkie
by Michael Vadnie

  This game, this competition attaches itself onto one's consciousness in
the most insidious yet pleasurable way.
  A friend described its influence on one's life as "more addictive than
morphine, more satisfying than sex."
  While that might be going a little too far for some folks, it's not by
too far. This game, this competition is a maddening early February
affliction referenced in hushed, knowing terms by devotees in Central
Minnesota simply as "trivia."  
  More specifically, this event is a 50-hour marathon of trivia questions
played over KVSC-FM, 88.1, the public education radio station licensed to
St. Cloud State University.
  Since 1982, two years after this game was founded by Mac McMenimin as a
diversion from the cabin fever affecting dormitory dwellers, KVSC Trivia
Weekend has been an important part of my life, the lives of my family, my
trivia team teammates, and, no doubt, literally thousands of others who
have been tempted into the maw of the trivia beast.
  This trivia quest has involved more than a third of my life in years, and
it occupies easily 150 hours per annual contest.
  Trivia Weekend has grown in complexity and in size, and players and teams
have had to adapt.  My team, GDI, has been fortunate -- and skilled.  It
finished in one of the top three slots 14 years in a row from 1985 to 1998,
earning championships five times.  Its status as the charter Outstanding
Team of the KVSC Trivia Hall of Fame reflects the hours and effort that
manifest my journey as well as others of my ilk.

TRIVIA PARTICULARS
  At the risk of appearing haughty, it's crucial for outsiders to
understand that just because one is very good at Trivial Pursuit or can
nail Regis Philbin's questions, that does not necessarily translate into a
being a productive KVSC Trivia player.
  In the KVSC event, long ago dubbed by my teammates as "a picnic in the
winter with skull cramps," the torturers (those who write questions)
broadcast eight to 10 questions of varying point values per hour, many
times related in part to a theme such as Mission: Trivia, In Pursuit of
Trivia, The T Files, T2KOAS Trivia 2000, or 2001's Night of the Living
Trivia, for example.  
  The addicted afficionados (those who play trivia) may use any lawful
means to find the exact answer, to call it to the KVSC phone bank, and to
win points.  Some of the questions are top-of-the-headers worth 20 points.
 But most queries require on-site library or periodical searching,
intuitive guessing, Internet searching or calling a friend or other source.
 Unlike somewhat similar radio trivia contests in Wisconsin where only one
submission is accepted per question, two guesses per call are allowed until
the allotted time for a given question has expired.
  During reflective moments, trivia veterans will tell tales of absolutely
devasting failures often tempered with moments of sensational success.
  Team headquarters can be in a dorm room or a motel room, a living room
such as with Pigs R Us, at a store or business, in a residential basement
as is the case with Panties Waaay Too Tight, on the stage of theater as
with Loose Meat Sandwiches.
  Most teams have dedicated drones, those invaluable members who have the
foresight to plan meals, to arrange internal and external communications,
to acquire and arrange libraries, to anticipate the minutia, and to
coordinate players often greatly diverse in age, education and background.
 And then the mental gymnastics and physical challenge of KVSC Trivia
Weekend begins.
  And it should be added that there is a great deal of coffee consumed,
some beer and cocktails ingested I'm told, occasional smoke in the air, and
lots and lots and lots of alternative music on KVSC (former trivia answer,
VSC stands for Voice of St. Cloud).
  All of this is geared toward declaring a winner, which becomes the
custodian of the Minnesota Masters' Trivia Traveling Trophy, an ugly urn
rescued from a trash can, or so the story does.  Winners also get a bunch
of t-shirts, a box of used KVSC CDs and a fistful of coupons.  Obviously,
it's the pride that comes with being declared CHAMPION at the award
ceremony that drives the best teams while drawing respect, even awe, from
teams that know in their hearts there is no scenario by which they would
find themselves on the victory stand when the dust clears.  

AN INTERLUDE
  Trivia weekend has experienced moments of confusion or controversy.  Most
dramatic was the evolution of the Information Highway in the 1990s.  Some
teams took to the technology like ducks to water, attaching immediate
significance to this new avenue for finding answers, and fast.  Others
eschewed the Internet, contending it ruined the purity of the trivia game
because it created a caste system of haves and have-nots.  
  On my team, the latter view prevailed largely because many thought
reliance on a machine at the expense of real brainpower, ingenuity and
camaraderie would cause us to lose our souls or, more importantly, would
make the weekend less fun or challenging.  Some walked away from the game
altogether, others went to wired teams, and a small band impetuously formed
a Luddite branch to play the old-fashioned way.  Two years later, the
realization that a team cannot compete in the upper tier without a total
commitment to combining the traditional methods of information retrieval
with all modern capabilities.   In March 2000, following back-to-back
double digit finishes, and full of the pride for doing the best we could
under the circumstances, I was ready to hang it up.  I was set to retire
from one of my most cherished passtimes, trivia weekend.

MY JOURNEY
  KVSC Trivia Weekend, let's be abundently clear, is not about me.  It's an
event that has involved perhaps millions of hours commitment by KVSC
managers, volunteers and sponsors.  There are also thousands of players on
scores of trivia teams who may share or dispute some of my ruminations and
opinions.  There are more than 200 GDI faithful and followers who have
shared the glory and the dream with me since Tom Elliott lugged a case of
Hamm's returnables into my rented house in Sauk Rapids on a Friday night in
February 1982.
  I was playing trivia alone while MJ, my wife, was visiting family out of
town.  I was babysitting my 4-year-old daughter Shannon.  I had a movie
book, a handful of magazines and a hundred books in boxes.  We played poker
while we played trivia. By Sunday afternoon there was house full of people,
and we were in the top 10.  We got hooked, and GDI was born.  There are so
many names, it just isn't feasible to name a lot of names for this piece.
 You'll know who you are, and, as the case may be, you should know of my
affection for you.  That said, I hope you'll honor me by letting me take
you through one common man's journey of challenge, friendship, unparalleled
excitement and introspection.

MEMORIES
  1982-3:  My toddler daughter Shannon is fascinated with people sleeping
on couches and floors, including a woman wearing a fur coat who had a pet
white rat named cbcbcbcb.  There's junk food and fast food everywhere. We
called a former grad school classmate at 3 a.m. and conned him into singing
us the lyrics to "Car 54, Where are You?"
  1984:  The venue is switched to Dick Hill's house east of Sauk Rapids. My
son, Sean, 15 months, and his friend are spotted eating cereal in the
morning using a beer box for a table. GDI moves to sixth place,
 1985-1989:  GDI moves to the unfinished basement of our North St. Cloud
house.  The team is growing.  We are actually attracting gawkers when the
bars close.  People are rooting for GDI because we are earning a reputation
as a bridesmaid but never the bride. GDI starts its run of top-three
finishes, narrowly missing a huge-point question that would have left GDI
challenging for the crown.  It was about a postmistress from Deer River who
was in a TV ad.  One year we lost after leading most of the way because we
were confounded by a Howdy Doody question.  We are press darlings.
  We start counting how many perfect hours we have gotten in a row.  During
one early morning run, we were so hot some of the players started their own
internal trivia contest.  We are never cocky, but the confidence is
bubbling not so far under the surface of our collective consciousnesses.  
  Our time, we know, is nearing.  GDI has players from 6 to 60 in five
states.  A bellhop at a major Atlanta hotel once ran four blocks to write
down the precise inscription on a Martin Luther King Jr. monument, then
read it to us so we could call it in for big points.  Team members are
beginning to collect newspaper clippings of obscure facts.  One year it's
so cold few cars will start.  The kids prove to be valuable sources of
information about such things as crayons, "Jungle Book" and "Pinoccio."  
  The food is improving to include quiche, chili, hot dishes and sloppy
joes.  Some discussion is had about hiring a nutrition consultant for the
weekend.

  1990:  The last year at our house was marked by a sense of purpose.  GDI
players worked hard in the off season gathering and organizing print, audio
and visual materials.  The theme was Trivia Attack, and that's what we did,
finally notching our first championship.  A man I didn't know knelt and
licked my boots at the Red Carpet dance following the award ceremony.  We
were in trivia heaven.  
  It was during this year that I experienced contributing my favorite
answer.  I was coaching seventh-grade girls' basketball, including my
daughter, who was a reserve.  We had a Saturday morning game, so I borrowed
a Walkman so I could listen to trivia.  During the last part of the first
half, I put Shannon in the game.  Minutes later, the torturers (those who
write the questions) asked for a verbatim recitation of the second verse
from the theme song for "The Patty Duke Show."  I promptly called time out,
substituted for Shannon, and she breathlessly sang the lyrics from one of
her favorite oldie TV shows to me as I wrote them in the score book.  Half
time arrived,  and I dashed to the pay phone, called my teammates, who
called in the correct answer.  
  Several GDI teammates were profoundly moved by the accomplishment of our
first team victory, one saying she was always the last player picked in
sand lot baseball, and another saying she had never been on a winning team
of any kind before that great weekend.  MJ and I remodeled the basement so
it was, to put it gently, time to move the GDI venue after six marvelous
years.

  1991-1994:  Our new hosts, GDI stalwarts Mark and Pat Ditlevson, allowed
GDI and its minions to invade their entire house.  We have a little jaunt
in in our collective steps, being reigning champs such as we were.
  Hosting a trivia team for a 50-hour marathon is much like having the
whole clan, or the whole village, over for the weekend.  But it takes about
a week to set up and about a week to break down and return a headquarters
bunker to a home again.  Players are hauling in newspapers, books, bricks
and boards, magazines, and sleeping bags.  
  The food offerings continue to be outstanding.  And the kids, known
internally as GDI, the Next Generation, are spending time playing trivia
and socializing away from the site.  
  As defending champions, there is another type of anticipation permeating
the air:  are we good enough and committed enough to repeat?  It turns out
the talent and energy is solid enough as we are able to win in 1991
(Magical Trivia Tour) and 1992 (Trivia Trek) for the contest's first
back-to-back repeat (Animal House, now a four-time winner, had won two at
the time and Phil & the Blanks had won twice) and only back-to-back
three-peat.
  Rugged competition at the top in 1993 and 1994 resulted in GDI being
knocked from its perch, but the team was only building loyalty and momentum
for what was to come.  
  We were in a pragmatic and spiritual transition from the traditional fact
gathering techniques to dabbling in a newfangled thing called Internet
searching.  Seasoned players began to sense the type of recruits needed and
the team expanded.  Players were consistently driving to St. Cloud from
throughout Minnesota and often from the three neighboring states.  Our base
of specialized intellectual muscle was expanding as was the size of the
trivia contest.
  1995-2000:  In 1995, the trivia weekend attracted more than 40 teams for
the first time since 1980 and 1983.  People throughout the community began
to realize that more than 1,000 crazies were playing this thing called
"trivia." Sponsorships increased.  The event was aired on public access TV,
and WJON-AM, St. Cloud Times and  University Chronicle gave it expanded
coverage.  
  It was common to be stopped on the street or in a store because one was
wearing a KVSC trivia t-short.  Outsiders commented about how much fun
trivia sounded while opponents talked trivia shop.
  GDI moved it headquarters again, this time to East St. Cloud and the home
of Jay and Shelley Schilken.  The team continued to grow to the point that
there are about 50 regulars on the roster and another 25 likely to play or
to call occasionally.
  We have been using our limousine rides, won in previous trivia contests,
to go barhopping and once to let the kids gun around town.  We now are
considering having lobster meals catered to the site and thinking about
hiring a massusse and a bartender.  
  Even though GDI has been vanquished in closely contested contests two
years in a row, there is no fear factor yet because, as decade-long
contenders, we are seasoned and a bit salty. Indeed, one year we were able
to predict quite a few questions based on instinct and experience.  
  1995's theme Dial T for Trivia found our team ready for the challenge.
 Although there were times of pain when a player would miss answering a
question because he or she was sleeping and no one knew the answer was in
the player's stash, the sheer strength of our sports studs, the depth of
our movie and history knowledge, and the dominance of our news junkies led
GDI to its fourth title.
  The Schilkens had, like the Ditlevsons, hosted a winner their first time
out.  And in 1996, they were hoping to also notch a victory in their second
year.
  The 1996 theme was Trivia Fair, and several GDIers did what many trivia
teams did.  They gathered tons of trivia about World Fairs and, of course,
the Minnesota State Fair.  It is against this backdrop that one of the most
dramatic and enchanting moments in the annuals of GDI history unfolded.
  This GDI  event would outshine MJ and John Holler reasoning the
complicated mathematic problems a couple of years in a row, rather than
solving them.  It humbles my Wally the Beerman collection, and my calls to
Dr. Duck, the Dr. Suess library and the Boston game collector.  It even
outshines Marty Sundvall's late-night calls to the parking meter "angels"
in Alaska or to the wife of the founder of the Sturgis Motorcyle Rally.
  Journalist Becky Beyers gathered some State Fair data in anticipation of
some questions.  Included in the packet was a list of food sold on a stick
at the fair.  Later, Becky and her husband Scott Beyers were attending the
fair when they noticed an item on a stick but not on the list.  Lesser
trivia players would have let such a miniscule discrepancy go.  Not Becky.
 The next day she called the state fair officials and wrote down the items
sold on a stick but not included in the publicity.
  She arrived armed and dangerous at trivia headquarters, guardedly
confident and praying the torturers (remember, those who write the
questions), would ask State Fair questions.  As luck would have it, the
biggest question of the year was to name all the items sold on a stick at
the past summer's fair!  But Becky was asleep.  Fortunately, someone knew
where to find her trivia stash, and called in the correct answer.  Other
teams, even with the publicity list heard "incomplete" to their offerings.
  And the funniest part of the story about this answer, which directly
contributed to GDI's last first-place finish, took place miles away in
South St. Cloud.  Mark Ditlevson has taken a teammate home to take a shower
at her apartment.  He waited in the car to listen to KVSC and read the
paper.  As she was preparing to to leave the apartment, she glanced out the
window where Ditlevson, a large but graceful man, was doing a victory dance
around his car in the parking lot.  He knew GDI had just gotten the biggie.
 It led us to our last victory, it would turn out, of the decade we
dominated.
  Ironically, some folks now thought GDI had won too much as we had "one
for the pinkie," putting us in the company -- relatively -- of the New York
Yankees, a winning team that's easy to hate.
  In 1997 and 1998, GDI fought valiently but was outgunned, first by the
always dangerous Animal House, then by the then-powerful Those Meddlin'
Kids.
  In 1999, we were honored to be named to the inaugural hall of fame.  
  It is during this time period that self doubt and equivocation about the
Internet came into play.  Few players were without opinion.  Many thought
it was a necessary to win (it is), while others thought it detracted from
the interpersonal fun (it does).  Thus, a smaller GDI-L team chose to play
without the Internet at all.  Without the gear, we were more like a first
grader kicking the knee of Michael Jordan and spoiling for a game of
one-on-one rather than the almost swaggering five-time champion we were.  
  2001:  GDI leaders were starting to feel skiddish about fielding a truly
competitive team for February 2001, especially if we clung to the
anti-industrial philosophy of the previous two years.  Sentiment was
divided. We could swallow our pride and jump full force on the Internet,
knowing that with our traditional experience and people power, we could be
a formible team again, which meant having a realistic chance to win it all.
 Or, we could "play for the fun of it," as we orginally had.
  By the time it came to make a decision, we were unprepared for the
former, and unconvinced about the value of the latter, given the effort and
energy involved in fielding a team.  GDI decided, with yours truly as
founder bearing the bad tidings, to minimally take the year off.  The
contest was about threes away at this time.  Some players probably needed
some time off, while others tried to play for other teams.  Afterall, a GDI
team member is, in this context, a proven winner.  Some of our best players
went to the hard-partying Panties team or the party monster contingent
known this year as Kharma Cocktail Chameleon.

 JOURNEY II
  I thought I might volunteer to answer phones at KVSC.  MJ and I planned
to join friends on a limousine excusion to the casino.  I considered going
to church.  Shannon wasn't sure what to do.
  Little did we know that the trivia worm of competition's past had bored
itself into the cortext of our brains.  I pretended not to notice.  In my
soul, I was suffering.
  5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, 2001
  Dan Barth, a founder of Loose Meat Sandwiches, a solid but very green
team aspiring to move to the next competitive level, called and said, "Is
it true?  GDI is done?"  I told him GDI was taking a rest.  "Want to play
with us?" he asked.  I told him we might "drop by," and that neither MJ nor
I considered ourselves to be trivia stars, rather decent recruiters,
motivators and organizers of teammates who are very smart and resourceful.
  6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2001
  I sneaked up on my dozen boxes of trivia files, memorabilia, historic
magazines and books.  Alone with my thoughts, I smiled as I recalled
getting the license number from JFK's Dallas limousine in 1982 from a photo
in a coffee-table book called The Torch Is Passed. (GG 300)
  A short time later I called Jay Schilken to inquire about the status of
the other dozen boxes of reference books in the GDI permanent collection.
 The idea of playing trivia with Meat began to fascinate me.  It would be
fun, as usual, to play trivia.  It would be relaxing to play without having
the stress of being one of the team leaders.  Meat had a group of leaders
such as Jay Burnham and the Barths (Dan, Mark and Julie), and host of
supporting characters.  It would interesting to see an up-and-coming team
reliant on its on-line savvy.  It would be great to play trivia in the
orchestra pit and stage area of the restored theater at Pioneer Place on
Fifth, a labor of love for the Barths as an artistic sideline to their
Diversified Marketing Systems video production business.
  Good God, I thought, I'm a weak trivia addict. I sorted, and I planned,
and I plotted. And for the rest of the month I humped boxes of books around
town like a teenager.
  8 p.m. Jan. 24, 2001.
  I'm sneaking peeks at my computer trying to solve the pre-trivia contest
torture called "visual trivia."  The questions are based on a few pictures
or other visual clues.  I typicaly overdo my research, being an addict and
all.  Indeed, one year I actually talked to the nation's formost authority
on race horse Dan Patch to find out who took a photo of the famous trotter
and which jockey was shown.  I think the ultimate question was to name the
Minnesota city where the horse's owner lived. (Savage)
  It dawned on me that in addition to bringing some traditional sources and
some of the experience that has caused teammates to dub me the "wily" one,"
I might help Meat most by bringing some people firepower.
 A call to my contact Dan Barth yielded a green light to recruit.  During
the next few days I found kindred addicts, many in denial. Untimately, a
dozen or so GDI players answered the call and played on site with the
original Meat crew.
  Jan. 31- Feb. 1, 2001
  I helped deliver a table and more than 20 boxes of books to Meat
headquarters.  The excitement of the Meat leaders was palpable.  I played
corporate trivia (a little like College Bowl) Thursday night at McRudy's
Pub with a team called GNO.  Sick, huh?  As usual, I couldn't sleep well
with trivia scheduled to kick off the next day.  When I did slip into a
fitful slumber, I dreamed my recurring dream about answering the 400
pointer because I had it in personal file.
  1-4:30 p.m., Feb. 2, 2001
  Players trickled in an out of Meat headquarters, arranging books and
magazines, test firing computers and organizing the site.  Elsewhere Julie
Barth and her niece slaved over numerous meals.
  4:30 p.m., Friday
  KVSC trivia headquarters calls to assign us our team number used to
identify us when we call in the answers.  Meat is 21 of a record 69 teams.
 I try to think of resons why 21 is a lucky, or a skilled, number.
  4:40 p.m., Friday
  Dan Barth presents me with a certificate for winning the trivia contest
(like "Jeopardy") after the DMR stress reliever golf outing the previous
summer.
  4:50 p.m., Friday
  Mark Barth greets everyone, issuing a warm welcome to the GDI folks.
 "Ladies and gentlemen," he delares in a rich baritone Indy 500 voice,
"let's go for it.   It's trivia time!"
  5 p.m.,  Friday, HOUR ONE
  The first question for several years has been asked by the SCSU
president.  New president Roy Saigo starts the 22nd annual contest asking
the name of the famous author who helped the university dedicate its new
library.  (Ray Bradbury)
  The Night of the Living Dead is under way, and Loose Meat Sandwiches has
drawn its first blood for 10 points.  Only 49 hours and 50 minutes left to
go.  "Ya can't get 'em all, if'n ya don't get the first one," someone
mutters profoundly.  The rest of the hour is routine, some answers are off
the top, others from books and more are lured from the depths of
cyberspace.  We miss a 60-pointer from the movie "Ernest Saves Cristmas."
  At the KVSC phone bank, we encounter people taking answers with trivia
nicknames such as AntiChrist, FloJo and Starbase.
  6 p.m.-midnight, Friday, HOURS 2-7
  Loose Meat's relatively inexperienced team has learned well in its first
two years of trivia.  Except for some minor tweaking of phone and notebook
placement, its organized mayhem at its best.  High spirited, well fed,
never sassy, our first leg proves to be as advertised:  fun yet efficient.
 The young computer geeks are slicker than a wet highway in Phoenix.  GDI
stud Bill Jones warms to the task of consistently delivering clues or
answers.  Rookie GDI recruit Jake Muonio latches onto a computer.  Bill,
Shannon, MJ, Jay Schilken and I begin to tantalize GDI stalwarts Amy
Becker, Scott and Becky Beyers, who are playing with us by phone while
listening to KVSC on the Internet.  They, like me, are pretending they can
shake the trivia addiction by playing casually rather than by immersion.

  Midnight to noon, Saturday, HOURS 8-20.
  Putting heads together led to a correct answer during Hour 9 with an
audio trivia question naming five TV quiz shows by theme songs.  
  As the downtown bars begin to close, we are visited by "gawkers," folks
who watch or jabber but seldom contribute.  Meanwhile, Loose Meat
Sandwiches is serving notice that it's a first-tier team.  It's fun to
watch the sun come up the first morning knowing you are part of team that
is legitimately in the hunt for the urn.  It's a familiar feeling for the
grizzled GDI veterans, but relatively rarified territory for the Meatsters.
  One early leader is beginning to fade, but two-time defending champion
Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women begins to flex its considerable mental
muscle, and perennial top-shelf competitor Animal House is lurking in the
wings.  The atomosphere at our headquarters is guarded optimism.  Excellent
breakfast and strong coffee add fuel for players who have not yet slept as
fresh talent reports for some shift changes.  
  I catch some catnaps in the theater seats, drinking in the scene of
crazed adults scrambling to answer questions about the name of a nude
statue movie star Bette Davis posed for when she was 16 ("The Young Diana"
in South Carolina) and the name of the haunted mansion in the 1937 Disney
movie "Lonesome Ghosts" (MacShiver).
  
  1 p.m., Saturday, HOURS 21-25
  A 110-point question comes home to Meat in Hour 29 due to a cooperative
effort between machines and people and books,  as we successfully name the
11 states not represented as birthplaces of baseball hall of fame
inductees.
  More food, some beer and a few drinks, a couple of skits and a chdeer or
two.  Yep, some of the players are getting a little giddy.
  As the contest reaches the midway point with a 10-point slam dunk to name
the first hit single by Cream ("I Feel Free"), Loose Meat is entrenched in
the second to fourth zone, mostly in second.  Like GDI teams of old, team
members begin to count perfect hours, often knowing the other leaders may
well be doing the same thing.  We hope Tinkerbell and her slumber dust will
visit othe teams during the second overnight, but not ours.
  6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, HOURS 26-31  
  And surprise, the Twin Cities contingent has finally decided to help in
the race for the trivia penant.  Their 10-step program will have to wait
for another year, the demon trivia having seduced them into its lair.  Rest
assured, the fresh faces were welcome.  I finally grabbed a couple hours of
sleep on a conference room couch.
  As usual, we often come very close but still miss a question.  Such was
the case in Hour 32 when asked to name the top three winners of the 1968
PATSY Awards.  TV animal acting seemed easy enough but with several player
working on it digging, surfing and guessing, we missed Arnold of "Green
Acres," Ben of "Gentle Ben," and Clarence from "Daktari."   

 1 a.m. - 8 a.m., Sunday, HOURS 33-40
  The torturers (those who write the questions) love to cook up some brain
pain in the wee hours.  In Hour 33, trivia teams are faced with a speed
round, 9 questions per half hour asked in rapid fire fashion, all worth 30
points and closed quickly.  Unorganized or shorthanded team get trashed in
this round but such teasers as the name of the referee in the 1959
heavyweigh boxing match that yielded the first Swedish champ (Ruby
Goldstein).  Meat stalwarts managed to notch 360 points of 540.  The speed
round is high trivia drama.  I sneak another short nap, curled up this time
on an upstair hallway floor.
  Late night snacks and morning breakfast remind some of us there is an
outside world, and the sun coming up for the second time stirs our
competitiveness with strong coffee.  We're clearly holding our own.  If
only we hadn't missed a couple of heartbreakers earlier, we lament in
moments of private reflection.  "Number One's open," someone shouts,
rousting us back into reality.  The question defginitely do not get easier
during the second night and frustration reigns until we realize the other
top teams are scoring about the same.  The contest is going to come down to
the wire with a half dozen having a realistic chance of winning or scoring
one of the two other coveted top three finishes.
  Hour 40, the symbol of a work ethic, features a pricey visual question we
did not get, but naming the soda and its creator called Brad's Drink (Pepsi
by Caleb Bradham) and other allowed Meat to stay in competition.

 9 a.m.- 2 p.m., Sunday, HOURS 41-46
  Question point values are on the rise.  Second wind and adrenaline are
kicking in with the coffee and nervous energy.  The Meat players are
tireless while GDI players pride themselves in their relentlessness.  More
questions fall into the grasp of the second-place-ranked Meat, including
the location of the Sinus Irridium (Rainbow Bay on the Moon) in Hour 46.
     
   3 p.m., Sunday, HOUR 47
  During the last three hours, the teams are not told their scores or place
on the air.  This ploy is design to build the suspense for the awards
ceremony.  
  The time is ripe for the dreaded "biggie," and sure enough HOUR 47 starts
with a 440 pointer, enough to win if a top four team can nail it alone.
 This year's monster requires teams to name 22 horror movies from a series
of short sound bites.  Meat has 20 correct when the time ends, after about
55 minutes of Internet searching, book searching and guessing.  We are
wondering if we can hold second.  Color us sad, but with our head held high
for the effort.

 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday, HOURS 48-50.

  Meat continues to score well on small questions but misses several
tougher ones.  Players begin to help divide books and magazines from
shelves with hundreds of each.  
  Other players continue to press for a strong finish with hopes of a
top-three finish, having been in second when the scores went dark.
 Afterall, it's important to know what role Mervyn Bogue played in the Kay
Kyser Kollege of Musical Knowledge (Ish Kabibble), what were the untrue
last four words John Adams uttered ("Thomas Jefferson still survives") and
who shot Achilles in the heel (Paris).

 7 p.m., Sunday

 It's over.  Most teams will head to the award ceremony.  Most serious and
fun-loving players will be in a little funk due to lack of sleep until
about Thursday.  After the ceremony is a post-trivia party at the Red
Carpet featuring the KVSC Trivia house band called Shake a Hampster Band.
 A hot shower beckons first.
  8 p.m., Sunday
  The Kimberly Ritchie Auditorium at SCSU is packed with hundreds of
enervated and weary trivia players ranging from high school age to folks
flirting with retirment.  KVSC adviser Al Neff and station manager Jo
McMullen offer lots of thanks before reading the names of the teams in
order of finish. It is duly noted that a half dozen teams played without
being in the St. Cloud area, compliments of the Internet.  Pigs R Us
captain Bruce Petersen delivered his annual police report, noting that no
trivia teams were arrested as they were too busy having a party or playing
trivia or both.
  Last place belonged to a lame team called Methadone Addicts with 350
points. But 68th place went to a team that tried, the Bent Lake Diamond
Doorknobs with 2,270 points.
  As the suspense built toward an announcement of the winner, sveral teams
have reason to hope as they do not know what happened during the last three
hours, including the 440-pointer.  In an amazing move from third to first,
because it did get the biggie, Animal House claimed its fourth title with
13,115 points, having first won in 1986.  Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women,
the late leaders, are bumped to runnerup by an 85-point margin that denies
it a threepeat.  And our upstart hybrid team, Loose Meat Sandwiches, scored
12,670 points to grab third by a 320 points over the Voodoo Dolls.
  Sigma Phi Nothing is named to join previous Trivia Hall of Fames
inductees GDI and Animal House.

  9 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday
  KVSC volunteers mingle with players.  Torturers chat with victims.
 Mortal enemies hours earlier compare the ups and downs of another year.
 And the Hampsters make the Carpet jump with original made-for-trivia
parodies, such as "Caffeine" to the tune of "Cocaine."

  10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 5

  The sun comes up again.  After three days of noise clutter, it's
refreshing to listen to the sounds of silence, interrupted only by birds
chirping and hum of the wind.
  I'm ready to return to reality.  It's time to go to work after stealing a
couple extra hours of shuteye.  
  I glance at the morning paper, spotting a small story about a prep
athlete breaking a long-standing free-three record.  I tear the article
out, fold it and slide it into the pocket of my briefcase.  Maybe it'll be
a 40 pointer in February 2002.  
  That's a trivia reality.
On
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