This past Friday night, I was thrilled to hang out in Belleville with my close college friend, Mike (far left). I was also excited to catch up with Mike's hometown friend and Millikin alum, Tony (2nd from left, making Mike laugh) and get to know his wife, Christa (far end of table, center), yet another Millikin grad. I met many new friends who grew up in Belleville with Christa. Even better yet, all of us were attending a trivia night competition!
I don't know if "trivia nights" are popular in other locations, but they are happening all of the time in the St. Louis area. Usually organized by schools, churches, or community organizations, these can be great fundraisers. The sponsors set a participant limit per table (usually 8 to 12 people), a fee for entering ($10 - 20 per person), and special features for that trivia night. Some offer silent auctions, free beverages for all participants, free gourmet desserts throughout the evening, 50/50 drawings, and grand prizes for super-hard trivia questions. Participants usually bring snacks to share with their teammates (in picture, see guacamole made by yours truly), and the fun begins.
Each trivia night I've attended has 10 rounds of 10 questions. The moderator reads the questions, and each team fills in the blanks on their answer sheet. Then, the organizing committee gets to the really hard work: picking up the answer sheet from each table, distributing a new answer sheet to each table, delivering the previous round's answers to the designated scorers, grading the sheets, and displaying the scores for all to view. As you can see, this was a particularly large competition (the Elks club was packed!), and all of the proceeds went to the local school district and to a local police officer who was injured in the line of duty.
In the end, we didn't do too badly. In fact, our team finished in the top 20%, I believe. We were doing very well for ourselves...and started heading downhill with terrible results in the 8th and 9th rounds. Thankfully, we - as Table 28 - had a strong finish in the 10th round and ended with 749. It was a thrill to see nearby Table 29 finish in first place with a whopping 903 and see the top 3 tables donate all of their prize money to the officer in need.
It was a really fun night. Not only did the trivia cover all sorts of topics (baseball MVPs, local celebrities, angels in the bible, academy awards winners, worst dressed lists, Illinois towns and history, and TV's single dads, just to name a few), it was wonderful to spend time with good people and be in a community that felt like home.