Hello! Guest blogger Ryan Vickers is back again this week to take us through a trivia-related phenomenon that I had never even heard of – shame on me! Now read on…
My Life in Game Shows
Episode 13 – Meeting with like-minded folks – TCONA / ‘Game Show Throwdown’, 2017
In the world of fan conventions – because geek is now chic – Comic Con is come-one-come-all for everything pop culture in San Diego, California. Musical Theatre fans have Broadway Con in New York City.
But what does that leave for us game show (and trivia) aficionados? The Trivia Championships of North America (TCONA)! Held in Vegas every year, this has some loose connections to the previous “Game Show Congress” which occurred during the 2000s but truly today TCONA stands on its own. Trivia players from all around the world (including game show writers, contestants and talent) attend and play in events such as LearnedLeague Live, Last Quizzer Standing, and Total Recall about Strange Happenings (TRASH). There’s something for everyone.
It also means there is a boatload of game show contestants there.
PRO TIP: If you ever find yourself at an event whereby there are this many game show contestants, make sure to ask them about their experiences! And furthermore, ask them what they did to get on that show that you want to get on!
I’m not joking about the alumni – far from it. My quiz bowl team included two people that had reached the $500,000 level on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and a Lingo champ, for example. I ran into alumni of shows like Win Ben Stein’s Money, The $100,000 Pyramid, Whammy!, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Weakest Link, $ale of the Century… and the list goes on and on and on…
On a personal level, I had a blast. It was not only great getting to meet all of these wonderful game show people, but it was also the activities as well. I went with a friend to see a taping of Millionaire and got to stand on the set where the host stands and actually “host” a question. I spent time playing Jeopardy! with actual Jeopardy! alumni in someone’s hotel room. I played trivia titans in a 15-player head-to-head game of Last Quizzer Standing (similar to Britain’s Fifteen-To-One) where I came in fifth place.
PRO TIP: Don’t play your cards early if you don’t need to. In this fifteen-player quiz battle, I might not have been the strongest but gave confident answers and then did not make eye contact during the second round (where players nominated other players to answer) which helped me make it as far as I did. Know the rules of the game and figure out how they can work to your advantage!
I also had one of the best nights of my life with approximately twenty other Wheel of Fortune alumni with dinner at a restaurant (where someone did the math and there was over $300,000 in winnings at that table alone!) and then a nightcap singing karaoke with those fine people. Don’t get me wrong – I had a great time but I’m not posting the footage!
The highlight of the weekend for me was raising money for childrens’ hospitals across North America. As part of a group that put on the “2017 Game Show Throwdown” we raised over $7,000 by playing different game shows for 24 hours with contestants from the TCONA audience. You’d be surprised, but I got to host a cult-Canadian game show at 4 am and it was a blast. We live streamed on the internet so everyone could watch as well!
PRO TIP: If an opportunity comes where you can use your game show skills to give back, please try and do it! I have helped out with events at various locations and trust me, it will warm your heart. Not to mention you’ll have funny anecdotes to tell for years to come based on the answers that players give!
I can’t wait to go back!
Thanks for the heads-up, Ryan; I was completely unaware of the existence of this event. It sounds like a lot of fun! Hopefully I’ll manage to get there one day.