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From the Stevens Point Journal (WI) April 21, 2001:


Old Days, new ways to play
By Charley Shaw
Journal staff

Members of the team
Members of the team "Wild on Rice: Old and In the Way" greet fans during Friday's Trivia Parade.The team won first place for its entry. The 54-hour contest, which is the largest of its kind worldwide, began at 6 p.m. Friday and lasts until midnight Sunday. Picture courtesy of the Stevens Point Journal.

Trivia 32: Old Days opened amid hints from organizers that contestants will see new twists during the 54-hour fact-fetching marathon.

"There are usually about eight questions an hour," said Rebecca Pollesch, Trivia promotions and public relations director. "Of course, there will be some surprises this year. It will give teams a shake."

Tradition prevailed during the opening moments of Trivia with the perennial preview song "Free Bird," and the answer to the first question, as always, was actor Robert Redford.

The answer to the second question, Louisville, Ky., was worth $3,000 to "someone," said Trivia Master Jim "Oz" Oliva. The hint was in reference to a question posed to Stevens Point resident Tom Hatfield on ABC's television show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" in February.

A question in the fifth hour of Trivia required respondents to yell "Bam" as if they were audience members watching the culinary show of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

More than 12,000 people on 460 teams registered for Trivia, and even more tuned into 90 FM WWSP as disc jockeys played songs and rattled off questions.

Oliva was barely recognizable without his usual beard and disheveled hairstyle as he announced the first shift of Trivia. Oliva told a crowd gathered at P.J. Jacobs Junior High School before Trivia that his new look was a way of reverting to the old days.

The amount of hair on Oliva's head has changed since 1964.

"There was a lot more of it," Oliva said.

New events at this year's Trivia: 32 include the first Cyber team. The broadcast was streamed over the Internet and a team from Milwaukee repeatedly logged on and off the Web and phoned answers to Stevens Point.

"The guy said it would be worth all the long-distance phone calls," Pollesch said.

Trivia players in Stevens Point celebrated Trivia in eccentric fashion at the annual Trivia parade. Andy Andrich, Plover, and fellow Stevens Point Area Senior High School graduates and members of Team Thicko wore 1950s diner uniforms and played oldies music from their float.

"It's a good theme," Andrich said. "A lot of questions are about older times."

The float "Wild On Rice, Old and In the Way," received first place for its old log cabin with a smoking chimney fueled by charcoal. The team plays from a residence on Rice Street.

Officials at Trivia headquarters crossed their fingers in hopes that the radio tower and transmitter would keep Trivia on the air.

WWSP received repairs to its tower after it was hit by lightening last year.

Radio waves emanated from the station without a hitch as Trivia kicked off. For the disc jockeys behind the microphone, Trivia is a test of ability.

"For the jocks, it's time to shine because at least 12,000 people are listening," Pollesch said.

For the first four hours, the phones were answered by volunteers from the International Association of Administrative Professionals. The steady stream of phone calls keeps the volunteers busy.

"It's hectic in here," said Deanne Bronk, Stevens Point. "It's loud and you have phones slamming down."

Between 400 and 500 volunteers will assist Trivia this weekend.

Stevens Point Mayor Gary Wescott set the tempo for Trivia in front of parade participants at P.J. Jacobs.

"Let the games begin. And let's have some fun," Wescott said.

Shaw can be reached at 715-344-6100, Ext. 2510, or at



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