All About the 2017 Trivia Bee: The 80s

Originally appeared in The Record May 12, 2017

By Wes Bowers, Record Staff Writer

STOCKTON — Dozens of trivia buffs converged on the Stockton Arena on Friday night to test their knowledge of all things ’80s to help raise funds for San Joaquin Literacy programs.

The Library Literacy Foundation of San Joaquin County hosted its 26th Annual Trivia Bee, featuring 31 teams consisting of county residents young and old competing in a fun battle of wits and pop culture.

Co-chair Lesley Fontanilla said 450 people tested their knowledge of the 1980s in this year’s bee, the largest number of participants in the event’s history.

Team members were decked out in costumes reminiscent of the decade, from bright neon pink tank tops to punk rock Mohawks to Guns N Roses T-shirts.

Students from Lodi’s Jim Elliott High School built a four-legged frame out of PVC piping and hung neon paper of various colors adorned with popular songs from the decade, such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” and Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309 (Jenny).”

The team also made Pac-Man-themed cupcakes resembling Inky, Blinky, Winky and Clyde, the ghosts who taunt the iconic video game hero during play.

Although none of them were alive in the 1980s, they were confident they would do well.

“It would be better if we had lived through the era,” junior Adrian Van Groningen said. “We’re ‘youngsters.’ But I think we’ll do fairly OK.”

This was the team’s third year at the bee, and it has been crowned winner of the high school competition the previous two years.

“Even if we don’t win this year, we’ll still enjoy it,” senior Sianna Campbell said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Colleen Foster, former director of the Stockton Library, was leading a team named the BEEDazzlers, which decorated their table with bee plush toys and décor.

Her team has won the bee three times, their last title in 2015, when the theme was the 1960s.

She joked that the team won that year because its members “were old,” and said that they should do well with questions pertaining to things that happened 30 years ago.

“I know the team is very competitive, even if we don’t win,” she said. “We need to support literacy, and the foundation, because the foundation supports our libraries.”

Four teams finished in a tie for first with 77 points. Financial Center Credit Union’s team, Totally Tubular Lender, won the Sudden Death playoffs to win the overall Trivia Bee championship. Team members were Jeff Smith, Lena Reyna and Michael Patrick Duffy. The other teams were the Lodi Trivia Crushers, Stockton Rotary Breakfast Club and The Bee District 2s.

Lincoln High School, with 42 points, beat five other teams to win the student championship. Team members were Nicholas Sy, Cristina Debaco and Jorell Gotamco.

Editor Mike Klocke contributed to this report.

— Contact reporter Wes Bowers at (209) 546-8258 or Follow him at and on Twitter @WBowersTSR.

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