Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Community Event

I have been reading a book on the history of Wisconsin. Since I now live in Wisconsin I should know something about its history. Some of the stories I have read are so funny but the stories also help me to understand some of the reasons communities do the things they do. But nothing I have read so far, prepared me for Trivia Weekend. It is happening now.

This is the weekend when over 400 teams (there is no limit on the number of people that can make up a team) compete for a trophy and bragging rights – there is no prize money given. The university radio station emcees the event. There are questions asked 24 hours a day starting Friday at 6:00 pm with a great amount of fanfare and end at midnight on Sunday – 54 hours. I think there are about 10 questions an hour from just about any topic you can imagine. (Examples: ingredients on cereal boxes, the dimensions of a canopy downtown, the name of a copy company in one scene of a movie, a professional basketball player that became the sheriff of his home county, etc.) After a question is asked the team calls the radio station and gives their answer. A team may only call once – so get it right the first time.

Then there is the stone trivia which is sort of a scavenger hunt. Each team is assigned a group number and these group numbers are given clues on where they must physically go throughout the competition. They are to acquire 3 pieces of paper which will give them additional points to go with their points for answering the trivia questions.

The radio station is playing a wide assortment of music between the questions. They strictly enforce the time limit the teams have to answer the questions. Points are awarded to the questions based on how many teams called in with the correct answer. Some questions may be worth 200 points and other 0 points.

This year there are over 12,000 people participating. Some are not in the Stevens Point area and even though it is almost impossible to win the competition without participating in the stone trivia, they are trying. The newspaper reported an area soldier in Afghanistan is participating since the radio station is doing a live stream of the program.

Around town there are signs posted to indicate the headquarters of the teams. The pizza places have ordered twice the amount of dough they usually order for the weekend. A local ice cream hang out is open extra late to feed the cravings of these trivia players. More beer is ordered by everyone that sells beer – by the bottle or the keg. The convenience store is brewing flavored coffees until 1:30 am. An automobile repair shop put out a sign saying they could repair stone trivia wrecks. It is reported you cannot find a hotel room in the area during this weekend and that on Monday there will be a lot of people missing from work.

With the advent of the Internet I am sure it is easier to find answers to some of the questions than when it started 40 years ago. We had dinner with a couple from the area. She participated on a trivia team during high school and college. She said one year a question was what is the Pope’s telephone number. Long distance operators were flooded with requests for the Pope’s phone number – in about a 10 minute period. A question was asked about who was the all time money winner on Jeopardy. Our friend said she got the phone number of Alex Trebec and called him. He took her call, did not know the answer, but was flattered that she had called and thought it was great fun to be part of the Trivia Weekend.

I carpool with a man who said they had a pink dog house in their yard and became part of the stone trivia. When they figured it out by all the cars driving slowly by their yard, the children sat outside and waved to the competitors.

Since we moved here, we have been very impressed with how much of “community” feel there is in Stevens Point. This Trivia Weekend is just an example of it. Maybe we will put together a team for next year – does anyone want to join us for the party?

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