Trivia Bee Celebrates FAB 40s

Originally appeared in The Record April 26, 2019
By Wes Bowers, Staff Writer

STOCKTON — What state was its own nation before being admitted to the Union in 1846? What novel was Charles Dickens writing while trying to have his wife committed to an institution? What Boston Red Sox outfielder recorded baseball’s Triple Crown in 1942 and 1947?

Those were some of the questions asked at the Library & Literacy Foundation’s Annual Trivia Bee on Friday night at Stockton Arena.

This year’s quiz competition was themed “Those Fabulous 40s” and focused on facts and information from the 1840s and 1940s.

Many of the teams vying for trivia buff supremacy had participated in previous bees.

However, Middle College High School’s team was not ashamed to admit they had only signed up two hours before the event began.

“We’re basically going in blind,” student Agomjot Bal said. “We know the rules to the game, and we know the gist of what is going to be asked.”

The 16-year-old and his teammates were boning up on their knowledge of the two decades with help from their cellphones before taking the stage for competition.

When asked what made the team sign up on such short notice, he casually shrugged, but said they feel prepared.

“It sounded like a fun thing to do,” Bal said. “And we didn’t have much planned for today.”

They ended up taking first in the high school portion of the competition.

One team that had been preparing well in advance for the bee was the Stockton chapter of the American Association of University Women.

Betty Outlaw, treasurer of the chapter, was not one of the members taking a seat onstage, but said the trio who volunteered had been practicing for a couple of months.

“We are confident,” she said about the team’s chances for coming out on top. “One of the people on our team is returning from last year, where he did very well. So we think we will do well this year, too.”

City of Stockton Librarian Suzy Daveluy provided the questions for trivia teams to mull over, and gave them 20 seconds to come up with answers.

Results from the 2019 Trivia Bee

Winner: Friends of the Stockton Library — 82 points

High School winner: Middle College High School — 61 points

Teams congratulated themselves when they correctly answered “Tom and Jerry” as the cat-and-mouse cartoon duo that premiered in an MGM release in 1940, or when they knew that 1848 was the year gold was discovered by James Marshall near Coloma.

A collective groan of regret emerged from nearly all the teams after they were stumped by the Dickens question, and Daveluy revealed the novel was “A Christmas Carol.”

This was the 28th year the bee has been presented by the Library & Literacy Foundation, which raises funds to support the San Joaquin County Public Library System and other literacy initiatives in the county.

Some teams even dressed in attire from the two decades. San Joaquin Delta College’s team wore the duds of 49ers from the California Gold Rush, while the city of Stockton’s team made themselves up as 1940s advertising icon Rosie the Riveter.

Russ Wiley, one of the representatives for AAUW’s team, said they liked this year’s categories, as many in the organization had lived through the 1940s. And researching the 1840s wasn’t too difficult, given almost everything is online and readily available for cranial consumption.

“What I’m most pleased about, is that this is a group activity, so I won’t be alone up there when I show my ignorance,” he joked. “Preparing and practicing, though, really comes down to lists (of facts). You read them and keep reading them until everything sticks.”

Contact reporter Wes Bowers at (209) 546-8258, or Follow him on Twitter @WesBo26.

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