16 years of competition

Trivia contest numbers grow

The Appleton Post-Crescent, February 8, 1981.

The 16th Annual Midwest Trivia Contest has come and gone, and, according to Lawrence University’s broadcasting director Larry Page, there’s every indication that it’s good for at least 16 more years.

“There seemed to be more people playing this year than ever before,” Page said, in announcing the top five on-campus and off-campus teams.

The first five off-campus teams and their point totals were Upper Echelon, with 1,480 points; F.I.S.T. (Forever in Search of Trivia), 1,460; Gopher Baroque, 1,430; What’s Next?, 1,290 and Fox U., 1,250.

Leading the pack on-campus were Happy Joe’s Szygy, 1,625 points; Cousin’s Interoffice Memorandum, 1,570; Garfield’s Revenge, 1,300; Deli Sub Pub, 1,210, and Sammy’s Pizza, 1,135.

Each first-place team received a plastic flower urn, the second-place teams were awarded Coast Guard-approved life jackets, and the third-place teams won pink plastic flamingos.

Played last weekend between 10 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday, the contest drew more than 140 off-campus teams and 96 teams on-campus teams. The teams compiled points by correctly answering questions asked on Lawrence’s radio station WLFM. Point values ranged from 5-100, depending upon the difficulty of the question.

The contest probably reached the highest point of sophistication this year. Many teams had extra telephones installed in their headquarters, some equipped with speed dialing. With this feature, a caller could ring the station by pressing or dialing only two digits.

At least one team used two computers, one programmed with trivial information and the other programmed to keep track of the point totals and rankings of all the other teams. Unfortunately, Knights of the White Camellia, the team using the computers, wound up ninth in the off-campus ranking.

The No. 1 off-campus team, is composed mostly of Appleton High School-East seniors who have played Trivia together since they were in seventh grade at Roosevelt Junior High School. Some of the F.I.S.T.’s members were stationed in two “research” houses and the players there phoned information to a central house, where the answers were called in to WLFM.

According to the mother of one of the team members, F.I.S.T. has been building card files over the years with bits of trivia. One member, she said, attends movies with a notebook and takes notes on anything that might be asked in a trivia contest. Other team members are assigned television shows to watch.

“They spend all year at it,” the mother said.

The third place off-campus team, Gopher Baroque, was largely composed of Lawrence alumni who came from Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and from elsewhere in Wisconsin to compete. The fifth-place team, Fox U., was composed of students and alumni of the University of Wisconsin Center- Fox Valley. The identity of players on the fourth-place team, What’s Next? Was not known.

Page said that contestants (and others, too) may obtain a computer print-out of the ranking and point totals by sending a stamped, self-addresses envelope to him at WLFM, 113 S. Lawe St., Appleton, 54911.