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A Kamloops body of knowledge on Jeopardy

By ANDREA KLASSEN
April 13, 2012 · 3:58 PM
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Mike Garrett of Kamloops will appear on the April 23 episode of Jeopardy. / DAVE EAGLES PHOTO/KTW

This Kamloops trivia buff has become one of a small number of Canadians to appear on the TV game show Jeopardy.

Answer: Who is Mike Garrett?

A trivia night team leader and former newspaper editor, Garrett is used to being hit up by friends and co-workers for word spellings, names, dates and miscellaneous facts.

But, when he first decided to try out for Alex Trebek's long-running quiz show, he wasn't much of a Jeopardy fan.

That changed when he filled out an online quiz for the show and landed in an audition pool in 2009.

Since then, Garrett has watched upwards of 800 episodes, scoresheet in hand and a finger on the pause button — the at-home version of a game show buzzer.

"If I knew an answer, I would pause the tape and I'd say it out loud because you have to get used to that," Garrett said.

Watching the show also helped him figure out what kind of questions were likely to come up and where to focus his energies.

"It's too daunting to say, 'I'm going to read the Bible,' or 'I'm going to read this massive biography of World War Two or something,'" he said.

"If it's Napoleon, you need to know his wife was Josephine and he was exiled on an island, for example. You can kind of know what they're going to ask from what they've asked before."

The more Garrett played, the easier it was to figure out where the gaps in his knowledge were.

"I was an English major and I though I knew my Shakespeare pretty well, and then discovered it was actually pretty spotty," he said. Other categories, like movies, sports, geography and current affairs, were already in his wheelhouse.

Two years into his preparation, Garrett's time in the audition pool expired, requiring him to restart the process.

After taking the online test again in August, he was in studio by December 20, 2011, part of a day of filming that created a week's worth of shows.

While he is barred from saying much about his episode before its April 23 air date, Garrett said most of the filming is a blur at this point anyway.

"It happens in the blink of an eye, really," he said.

"I, of course, remember all the things I got wrong and I remember how deep in the hole I got at the beginning. That's about all I can really tell you."

Though his competitive moment is over, the experience has had at least one lasting effect: The occasional game-show watcher has become a dedicated Jeopardy buff.

"It's something that's got in my blood," Garret said.

"Lately, I've been doing it just to see if my body of knowledge is still sharp. It's become a thing, like an addiction, really."