It was an epic night to remember. Saturday, January 24th 2009 at the Oriental Theater in Denver, Colorado. 61 teams, from Greely, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque, New Mexico converged onto one location for the single quiz to define and defy all other quizzes. There were hopes and dreams, doubts and fright in the air as everyone slowly packed the theater's main floor and balcony to attempt to win the impossible. The Geek Bowl.
In our third year of the ultimate Geek showdown, we had a bigger crowd than ever before. Sixty one teams, countless quizmasters and volunteers and one evening for everyone to prove themselves the best. The air was thick with the memories of last years Geek Bowl. The Betas, sitting up front near the stage, huddled around their answer sheet with their trophy from last year as centerpiece, below the banner proclaiming their previous triumph waited for it to begin. Asked at the start of the event how they felt about the next chapter in Geek Bowl, they simply responded, "We're not drunk enough."
Spirits high, favored team 3+1=5 remained level headed, telling me that the questions will "either be up our alley or not." The Moops, our first ever Geek Bowl champions didn't let past prides deter them from what it was really about. "We're in for the money. We're not doing this for fun." I went to seek out other legendary teams. I found up on the balcony the Rosy Hawkers. They have the proud distinction of being the first ever team to win a Geeks Who Drink pub quiz, before the name had ever been decided upon, in a little bar called Nallen's three years ago. They expressed their astonishment at what has become of the tiny trivia night they once aced. "It's fantastic. Unbelievable," after witnessing the spectacle from high above. "I hope to win. We'll give it our best shot." What's changed in the three years for them, I wondered. "The questions are a lot harder." They wished the best for everyone at Geek Bowl, including our fearless leaders, John and Joel, and hoped "The legacy of Geeks will continue on."
The event started appropriately enough, with laughter. Adam Cayton-Holland, last year's master of ceremonies and writer for the Denver Westword, gave everyone some comedy and eased the tensions of the looming questions and $3000 dollars to be won.
And then, it really began. Senior quizmasters Josh Johnson and James Thompson began round 1, which fittingly was The Inaugural Round. It started with a basic enough question on our new president, but everyone quickly realized that this was going to be no ordinary pub quiz. Ten questions later and after a 90 second countdown timer signaled pencils down, the rush of the quiz and the thrill of the night was truly on.
Next up was round 2, which of course, was our music round. However, because nothing can be simply done at Geek Bowl, we were treated to a music round performance. Ukulele Loki, hailing from the depths of Boulder's Scotch Corner Pub, came out and played us ten songs all proudly redone through the magic of the Ukulele. Again, proving that this is no ordinary event, we had ukulele renditions of heavy metal, pop, oldies, punk, country and classical. All teams did really well on this one, either showing that they do all have incredible brains, or that Loki is so good at his trade that ukulele and electric guitar became indistinguishable.
Then came round 3, which as you all know was multiple choice. Stuff that may or may not be bigger than other stuff was read by Colorado Springs' own Christopher Short and Aaron Retka (that later of which was referred to as "Certified Senior Fuckmaster"). At this point, instead of starting to read the round, they chose to infuriate the crowd by retelling the story of how Colorado Springs came to that very location one year prior and mopped the floor with everyone. You see, Denver is the home base. It was the start of Geeks Who Drink and the central location of the nerdy empire. Last year it was a pox on humanity to see the win go to another town, let alone the fact that it was Denver city rival Colorado Springs. Shouts of area codes echoed with pride in the air. Little did anyone know what was to become.
Fernando Gonzalez and Bobby Wilson of O'Niell's Pub and Spanky's Roadhouse went into the answers for round 1. As with any standard quiz, it was met with joyous laughter of accomplishment and bitter groans of mental shortcomings. Loki returned to do the answers of his music round, resulting in I think way to many people asking who Operation Ivy was. Kent Shelton and Paul Harris of Moe's BBQ and Jordan's did the answers to round 3. Luckily no one actually had to know things like the number of Brady Bunch episodes filmed out of Ca or that dwarf planet Pluto's radius (Don't use it in a Yo Mamma joke, it's too shitty a planet to ever make a satisfying joke).
Round 4 was presented by Lauren Croucher and Ken Goldfarb. Ken hosts at Casey's and Lauren will sadly host her final quiz after three years at The Elm this evening. Looking far sharper in crocs and a suit that one would expect, Ken started off reading The Four Round, which appropriately enough tested everyone's numerical history of the number four in all of recorded society. Sound hard? It was. Afterward, we had our first intermission.
During the break, scoremasters a plenty worked their butts off scoring rounds and getting them ready for show at the end of the break. While the lines for the restrooms lingered long in the lobby, the only thought in the heads of those waiting aside from how bad they had to urinate was what place they were in. Time would only tell, and as teams continued to argue the answers that had already been written and collected, the volunteers scored...
Then it came. The first glimpse at how all sixty plus teams fared in competition with one another. This isn't like grabbing your grad school buddies and heading down to the dumbsville quiz to feel better about yourself. This was the collective force of every winning team from the past year. Instantly people saw that something was very different. The Betas were right in the middle. Not a bad showing by any means, but not where they wanted to be and where others thought they would be. Nerdy Sanchez was in third, favored quiz vets 3+1=5 in second and unknown Coldcock!!! in first place. But who was that winning team? Asked how they felt about their high ranking, team captain Jason quietly dismissed their high score saying, "We're not done yet."
Round 5 introduced some of us to Quizmaster Emilio Scattaglia. I say some, because there's a good chance you've seen him at Whiskey Bar, Brandon’s Pub or Patrick Carroll’s. But then you may not have recognized him, well with him being dressed as a nun whose been injured in a fist fight. Why the outrageousness? Well, it was only apropos that he did so for our Video round on movie scenes involving Ass Whooping. The collection of kicking ass was good mix of commonly watched films and films that most certainly Joel found only on betamax.
As I (Quizmaster Eric The Jewish Viking) and lovely Ellen took stage representing my home base of O'Niell's and Ellen's Wyman's and Irish Rover, I knew I had to tell a secret. No, it wasn't Denver in first place. NO! It wasn't Colorado Springs either. It was Albuquerque. A city tucked into a state that hides in the southwest, trying desperately to prove to the world that unlike the fabled Atlantis, it is very real, and it is in first place. Ellen and I proceded to smack talk each other and then went into our fifth round of the night: Uber Duh! Unlike our standard duh rounds, this one was different. Yes, it was Uber. And, yes, I caught many of you second guessing yourselves.
Answer time was next. Round 4 was done by Brecken Baker and Sean Campbell, representing The Trailhead and O'Niell's respectively. Turns out that questions on four earned scores much higher than it, resulting in many cheers. Rewatching the video round, many cheered at the favorites and scratched their heads at the ass kicking sights that they now saw for only the third time in their life. Wes Berkshire and John LaHendro of Harpo's and McCabe's went over the Uber Duh round, which resulted in many people hitting themselves in the head with nearby objects while exclaiming part of the title of the round.
Round 7 was our visual round, and was introduced by crowd favorite Krista Overby of Fado in Denver and Goosetown Tavern. Promising that she will not expose herself to the crowd, but saying that she had already done so backstage, she proudly ushered in our Visual Round on Little Girls. On screen, the Polaroids of cute girls were displayed with one of the creepiest songs ever written. And then, as quickly as it started, it was over and it was time for another intermission.
When we returned, we first saw the answers to round 7. Who knew that the cute teenager we saw on screen would late be hit in the head and become the devil incarnate that is Ann Coulter? Some of you did. Others...not so much. And like that, it was time for the standings going into our final round of the evening. Nerdy Sanchez and 3+1=5 tied for second with Coldcock!!! holding on to first like a flotation device in the ocean. Could it last? No one knew, because as always our final round was random.
However, before it began, Quizmaster in Chief John Dicker took the stage. Those of you at his quiz will know his Round 8 intro song. Those of you who didn't were now aware. And those of you who didn't remember the opening theme to The Greatest American Hero heard it. And it was sung by very well dressed men. The Denver Gay Men's Choir surprised everyone by taking the stage and giving us a most crowd pleasing performance of Believe it Or Not by Joey Scarbury. It was awesome to the max and it eased the tension going into our final round...
Random Knowledge was read by Kink and Edgar. Or rather it was read by Jason Mueller and Matt Angell dressed as our adorably nerdtastic mascots. Hopefully the sight of Jason with tits was not too distracting for everyone, because this was where it all counts. By this point, the smell of alcohol mixed with worrysome sweat coming through the pores of four hundred quizlings, all crossing their burger greased fingers that the next question would be on a topic they studied in some obscure tome, read one day while perusing the aisles of a dusty used bookstore. I'm leagally bound not to reveal the questions, but I can tell you that no one expected a mixture of questions about Hitler, Mr. Rogers and George Harrison. The dictionary definition of random has no comparison to the real world example witnessed over six minutes on that cold Denver night.
Then, like a snapping of fingers (or a lighthouse airhorn), it was all over. Proctors collected the answer sheets and it was all in the hands of our scoremasters. The only thing left to do was wait and remain hopeful.
Nervousness was found a plenty during those last few minutes. Some sat quiet and stoic while others regressed to juvenile games of throwing paper airplanes, hoping that in their childlike state of fun they would forget the looming answers and scores that were going to be revealed upon them. Then they came on stage.
John Dicker and Joel Peach need no introduction. They are our Quizmasters-in-Chief and so much more. They built Geekdom that now spans three states and there they were, dressed sharply in suits and making sure that people knew the fun and games were now as serious as a funeral procession. They revealed the answers to our final round and then the score standings on the screen behind them. Not all the scores showed up though. It stopped with the fifth ranked team. Like any good quiz, Geek Bowl's third place prize would not be without a fight. Before the showdown, the J's revealed our boob prize: a sippee cup filled with $100 worth of Chuck E. Cheese coins. The honor of fifty first place went to The Dirty Squirrels.
Then it was revealed. The tiebreaker was to be between Carpe Scrotum and Nerdy Sanchez. I would like to reveal to you the question that separated $500 dollars from nothing, but unfortunately my brain hath not the capacity to remember such a long, daunting and ultimately cruel question. It truly required a team effort to dissect and determine what number might be even remotely close to the correct answer. In the tie-breaker to end, or rather, obliterate all others possible, Carpe Scrotum pulled out a mathematical prowess like none seen before and secured the third place, $500 prize.
While others in the crowd might not have been able to catch what two teams were left out of the proceedings, 12 people representing two teams sat at the edge of their seats, waiting for the reveal of their names, and the reveal of their standings. John and Joel asked them both to come up on stage. Coldcock!!! everyone by this point had noticed, but there, following them up stage was a team no one gave a second glance to, Dr. Funke's 100% Natural Good Time Family Band Solution. Both teams stood on stage, nervously looking out towards the crowd, stunned by the stage lights as a deer in front of a car. The Betas, bitter at their defeat, but proud in their legacy, relinquished their year long control of the trophy, which they had graciously commissioned in honor of their win, and the Moops prior. Then the announcement. Two teams that remained anonymous before the night were both winners. But one was the champion. That honor fell onto Coldcock!!! Cheers, hugs, and maybe even a few unnoticed tears unfolded before the crowd as the giant novelty checks were given on stage to Dr. Funke's 100% Natural Good Time Family Band Solution for securing second place and to Coldcock!!! for becoming champions of Geeks Who Drink.
As the room emptied out and people prepared to hop on the bus to the Whiskybar's afterparty, the streets welcomed the friendship that was created in the aftermath of Coldcock!!!'s win. Colorado Springs and Denver, once bitter rivals of quiz, united in defeat. But not before a solemn decree that next year, that at Geek Bowl IV, the winners will not be from New Mexico. They will be from Colorado and they will reign triumphant once again. Yet until that day comes, the next 365 days a trophy will remain located inside of O'Niell's Irish Pub in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And it will say Coldcock!!!
Before we get to the scores, I would like to make sure that everyone gets their appropriate thank yous. While I cannot mention everyone by name, a few deserve some attention. Firstly, John and Joel, for without whom we wouldn't have an event like this, a place to test out our knowledge against others and I wouldn't have a job. To Kent, for passing an opportunity on stage to provide perfectly timed songs and announcing for all who did go on. To all our quizmasters, for keeping the game going, every single week at more than fifty bars. To all our volunteers, who kept the doors secured from bums waiting on the streets to shout out answers and upholding the integrity that was the quiz. To Shannon and her squad of scoremasters, who without them we would have had no event at all. And lastly, to every one of our players, who made this year's event, bigger, badder and brainier then it ever has been in the past, and whose participation gets many quizmasters drunk on a weekly basis. While there are many pictures here, there are just over three hundred located on the official Geeks Who Drink flicker page, which you can find here. There you can add comments to you favorites ("Look at me in the third row!"), download them for your desktop wallpaper, or frame above your bed. Until next year, have a great time at quiz, wherever that may be! THE FINAL SCORES FOR GEEK BOWL III
Coldcock!!! 107 Dr. Funke's 100% Natural Good Time Family Band Solution 96 Carpe Scrotum 95 (+1) Nerdy Sanchez 95 3+1=5 94 Nerd Force 20/20 92 Chinese, Chinese, Chinese, Anything Goes 92 Me, My Cock and All These Chickens 92 Team Drunkey Punch 92 LoveFist 91 Slump Busters 90 Random Access Memory 90 Smurfs Don't Lay Eggs 89 Dukes of Valmont 89 Billions McMillions 89 Ronwell Dodge 88 The Moops 88 Reservoir Tips 88 Ewok Reacharound 87 Gobias Industries 86 Nobody Puts Donkey In The Corner 86 Get a Frosted Clue 86 The Lawn Wranglers 86 Bigger Than Jesus; Better Than Ezra 85 Wasilla Hillbillies 85 Thugtards 85 A Brain, An Athlete, A Basket Case, A Princess and A Criminal 83 Rule 34 83 The Standard Deviants 82 These Noots Really Tie The Room Together 81 The Betas 81 Gary Busey Motorcycle Club 81 Tastes Like Burning 81 The Seaward 81 Scruffy Nerf Herders 81 Margaritavillains 81 The Thinking Caps 80 Magic's Johnson 80 Harlock's Elite 79 Drunken Noodles 78 Curly Merkins 78 Not a Thru Street 78 Rosy Hawkers 76 That's a Cunning Stunt, Madam 76 Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men 75 That Burning Sensation 75 Bingo The Wonder Pony 75 Missing Lyndsay 74 U Got Served 73 What Would Jesus Joker? 73 Dirty Squirrels 72 Jesus & Tequila 70 Killer Ants In My Pants 68 Pork Swords 66 It's pronounced Ahmadinejad! 65 Mannheim Steamhookers 65 Bacchus Laureates 60 Wayne Newton's Fluffers 60 Brown Chicken Brown Cow 60 FYOs 58