This sign’s no trivial thing


AP, Special to the Journal, 1983.

Appleton, Wis. – Mark and Kim Koepke of Stevens Point reached back into their memories of a trip to Europe five years ago to help their team win the 18th annual Midwest Trivia Contest.

The Koepkes and 23 other members of the Cardboard Castle emerged the winners in the off-campus division of the weekend contest sponsored by Lawrence University radio station WLFM.

Contest organizers figured no one would be able to answer one of the final questions: in Amsterdam, across from Central Station, there is a clock at a stop for the No. 22 bus. Next to the clock is a sign. What does it say? The answer was provided by the Koepkes: “5,397 Miles to Wall Drug, Wall, S.D., U.S.A..”

While they were students at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, the Koepkes participated in a study program in England. In their travels in continental Europe they encountered the sign and took a photograph because it might make a good trivia questions.

Wall Drug is in western South Dakota. It began as a drugstore but is now a tourist attraction advertised on bumper stickers on cars traveling America.

Prizes for first, second and third place each were awarded to campus and off-campus divisions. Teams, rather than individual players, most commonly take part in the trivia contests because of the wide range of information that must be kept at the fingertips. A team usually has more fingers that a sole player.

Cardboard Castle, and Sammy’s Pizza Network, the on-campus champion, won an engraved trophy topped with likeness of a hotdog.

Taking second place honors were the campus team of Open the Trunk, Rik, and the on-campus Little Caesar’s 10th Legion. They received a trivia memo holder.

Infomaniacs was the third place winner with the on-campus team of Good Company’s Puka-Puka People. They received a plastic penguin.

Lee Ester, director of public relations for Lawrence University, pointed out that many on-campus teams take their names from Appleton restaurants, which in turn give them food during the contest. The university tried to crack down on that practice a while ago, Ester said, but no one paid attention.

As is the custom, the contest ended on what is called the Super Garruda question, which is the first question asked in the next year’s Midwest Trivia Contest. The question; “On May 1, 1976, WLFM (Lawrence University’s radio station) moved its studios from the Music-Drama Center into the Seeley G. Mudd Library. What was the first music played over WLFM at its new location?”

The answer: “Schubert Symphony No. 9, ‘The Great C Major.’”