Trivia XLI: tonight at 10:00:37

Reid Stratton

You’ve seen the signs, the table tents, and the buttons. You’ve seen the video outside Downer, and that weird couch scene outside the convo. Now you want to know what it’s all about. We’ll, friends, I’ll tell you.
It’s the greatest thing to ever happen to mankind.
I’m talking, of course, about the Great Midwest Trivia Contest, now in its 41st year, making it the longest running trivia contest in the nation. The contest, traditionally
held the last weekend in January, begins at 10:00:37 p.m. on Friday night, runs for 50 consecutive hours, and ends at around midnight on Monday.
Trivia Weekend is run by a dozen or so Trivia Masters who audition for their position each fall. The Trivia Masters are in turn coordinated by the Trivia Grand Master who is appointed by the previous year’s Grand Master. These Trivia Masters write all 350 some questions that will be asked, arrange for sponsors, phone answerers, and everything else needed for a successful contest.
The contest essentially works like this: teams from both on and off-campus listen in to WLFM for questions. When a question is asked everyone has three minutes to try and call in with the correct answer. Each time a player connects to a Trivia phone-answerer they get three guesses. Teams may call in as many times as they want within a three-minute period.
During those three minutes teams are flipping through reference books, calling people, and especially Googling the question. A common strategy used by teams to keep other teams from connecting
to a Trivia phone answerer is called “jamming”, where players call in even though they don’t know the answer and try to tie up the phone lines so that other teams can’t get through.
This year’s contest is very unique, as it will be the first Trivia Weekend to be broadcast exclusively over the Internet. Since Trivia depends on WFLM to reach the players, and WLFM has moved to an Internet-only format, Trivia too will be all Internet. One great thing about the change to an all Internet format is that new teams from all over the country are starting to spring up. This year we expect to have teams from as far away as Utah and Baltimore.
Now that we’ve gone through the logistics, we can move on to the exciting part. Trivia is, at its core, about answering
questions. But this ain’t dainty some game of Trivia Pursuit. This is a 50-hour long epic with heroes and villains, winners
and losers, climaxes and dnouements.
For fifty hours you get to live in an entirely different universe. There’s no night and no day, and things are either right or wrong, with no confusing of lines. It’s a great place to live for a weekend.
Most residence halls are organizing teams, so if you are even remotely interested,
I suggest you sit in with your hall’s team for awhile. If you play for just one hour then you’ll get a good idea about if Trivia is for you or not. Do yourself a favor, though, and at least give it a try.
See more about the Great Midwest Trivia Contest at