All Trivia, No Sleep: A 50-hour Survival Guide


The Great Midwest Trivia Contest is a 50-hour all-nighter for players and trivia masters alike. Trivia masters get only two two-hour breaks the entire weekend. For you math deficient folks out there, that means they will be awake 46 out of 50 hours. Some players will try to make it the entire 50 hours.

How do you do it? Here's some advice.

Caffeine. Lots of caffeine: Contest sponsors will supply the trivia masters with plenty of energy drinks throughout the weekend. By Sunday afternoon, plan on hooking up an IV of Mountain Dew.

Caffeine plus … beer? Long-time player John Foote of Little Suamico came up with an interesting routine over the years to help stay awake: Drink coffee for four hours, beer for 90 minutes, and repeat. Apparently the mix keeps you balanced. "I would suggest that for everybody," Foote said. Unless you are under 21, of course.

Get some oxygen: Aside from a can or two of Jolt Cola, Lawrence trivia grandmaster Reid Stratton shuns soda and energy drinks. Fifty hours of that stuff leads to some serious gut rot. Stratton suggests an all-natural cure. "There's nothing more refreshing than stepping out for five minutes and getting a breath of fresh air," he said.

Take a tough pill: Much like marathon runners talk about pushing beyond "the wall," veteran trivia players say that making it past dawn gives you a second wind. Just hang in there, said Jim Froeming of Appleton, a trivia player since 1978. "If you can do it the first time, then you can do it and it's not so hard," he said.