For fans of Lawrence University's Midwest Trivia Contest, there really is no contest


The Appleton Post-Crescent, January 26, 2010.

By Kara Patterson • Post-Crescent staff writer

When J.B. deRosset founded Lawrence University's Midwest Trivia Contest in 1966, he did so under the assumption that his peers at Lawrence would take the idea and run with it.

DeRosset, a Lawrence senior that year, had visited his then-girlfriend at Beloit College. His stay coincided with a trivia contest in Beloit's student union, and, he said, he thought Lawrence could top Beloit's trivial pursuits with a contest of its own.

"I came back and rounded up some of my friends who were involved with the (Lawrence) radio station, and I thought this would be a neat idea to broadcast it," said DeRosset, now 66, an attorney who splits his time between Miami and Asheville, N.C. "You've got people coming there with open minds. When we did this trivia contest it was a really fresh idea. … It met fertile ground when I brought it back to Lawrence."

A little more than four decades later, Lawrence trivia is not only still here, it is thriving, both on and off campus. What began as a one-day campus activity has expanded to a full weekend of continuous contest play that involves both town and gown. This year's contest, the 45th annual event, starts at 10:00:37 p.m. Friday and runs through midnight Sunday.

Lawrence's contest is the nation's longest-running trivia contest. Its student organizers, the Trivia Masters, pack between 350 and 400 questions over 50 hours. Teams of any size, playing from anywhere, call in and score points for correct answers. Each team gets three minutes and three guesses per question.

Trivia Masters, who answer to the grand master, write the questions and any topic is fair game. Mainstays include theme hours such as Batman Hour, Sunday Morning Church Hour, and Death and Destruction Hour.

If you play
What: Lawrence University's 45th annual Midwest Trivia Contest
When: Starts at 10:00:37 p.m. Friday and runs through midnight Sunday. Official team registration will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, but people can register at any point throughout the contest.
Where: Anywhere you choose. The contest is webcast, or broadcast over the Internet. Play by yourself or assemble a team. Teams are split into on-campus (Lawrence students) and off-campus (anyone else.)
Contacts: 920-832-7148 for off-campus teams (to register and give contest answers); 920-832-7080, ext. 7080, for on-campus teams.
Listen: If you're playing or just listening in, go to LU's WLFM radio station Web site at www.wlfm.net. Click on listen online.
Info: For more information, go to the contest's Web site at www.lawrence.edu/sorg/trivia. For updates during the event, click on current contest.
Trivia tees: Trivia T-shirts bearing the 2010 contest logo designed by Lawrence sophomore Annie Raccuglia are available throughout the contest for $9 each. People can purchase them at the campus radio station up to the contest's final ceremony.