Boulder resident Lori Bailey’s passion for trivia began in 1981 at the University of Colorado’s Trivia Bowl.
Three years later, her team snagged the title. And in 1988, she was a second-place winner on “Jeopardy!,” winning a year’s supply of Rice-a-Roni.
What: World Quizzing Championship
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: University Memorial Center, Room 382, CU campus, Boulder
Then, in 2000, the CU accountant won $64,000 on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Saturday, she’ll go up against trivia pros from around the globe when CU plays host to Colorado’s entry in the World Quizzing Championship, a worldwide event featuring more than 1,000 participants in 28 countries.
But, she said, this one’s just “for fun.”
“It’s all for bragging rights,” Bailey said. “You wouldn’t think people want to take a test for fun, but it’s nice to have a challenge and to give your brain some exercise.”
The World Quizzing Championship — set for 11 a.m. in CU’s University Memorial Center — consists of two 60-minute segments of individual written tests based on world topics ranging from culture and entertainment to history and science. Individuals from around the world will compete on the same day.
Paul Bailey, the organizer of the Boulder event, said the test is somewhat like taking the SATs.
“In the end, you can see what countries you size up to,” said Paul Bailey, who is not related to Lori Bailey.
However, the test is not easy, Paul Bailey said.
Even game show legends Ken Jennings (who holds the record for the longest winning streak on “Jeopardy!” at 74 games) and Ed Toutant (who won $1.86 million on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”) will participate in London and Austin, respectively.
“It’s very humbling to remind yourself how much you don’t know,” Toutant said. “Based on some of my past experiences, I’d say I’m smarter than the average person, but I will probably only get less than half of these questions right — which is, in actuality, a really good score.”
Paul Bailey helped write some of the material for the quiz.
“It has to be tough because some people literally are encyclopedias walking on legs,” he said.
Between tests, participants swap and grade. The tests focus on knowledge as opposed to spelling. If there are disputes in grading, the group can call the scoring control center in Belgium.
Paul Bailey said he hopes the introduction of the World Quizzing Championship on campus will spark a renewed interest in the CU Trivia Bowl, which had been held intermittently on campus until 2006 after hitting its height in the 1980s.
“The ballroom was always overflowing,” Lori Bailey of Trivia Bowl’s heyday. “Then at the turn of the century, the students weren’t really into it and (CU’s) Program Council couldn’t justify the money for the lack of students.”
Toutant, from Austin, said he began his lifelong trivia career while on an IBM business trip to Boulder in 1983, when he stumbled on the CU event.
“That is where I got exposed to trivia,” said Toutant, who returned yearly for the competition. “It was life-changing.”
However, the World Quizzing Championship differs vastly from other trivia contests, Paul Bailey said.
“This is a unique event,” he said. “It’s kind of like the Olympics. Everyone has a fair shot. It’s balanced with world pop culture and academic trivia. It’s a mind sport. It’s purely on ability to see who comes out on top.”
This is the fourth time the quiz has been in Colorado. Paul Bailey hopes to make this an annual Boulder event.
“We want to build Boulder as the place to hold the quiz because there’s a community of educated people who have a connection to trivia and culture,” he said.
Anyone is invited to participate in the quiz at CU, although participants are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. The quiz is free to take and there is no monetary prize.
“Trivia in different forms of competition is a way to keep up with what’s going on in the world and to meet people with similar interests,” Toutant said. “That’s what it’s about. Proving who’s the smartest is secondary in my mind. The World Quizzing Championship is a fun competition against myself.”