What is the U.S. Naval Academy?
That’s the answer that earned Collinsville pharmacist Shannon Hindahl second place during Monday’s Jeopardy episode.
The answer, “When this school opened in 1845, the curriculum for the class of 50 had math and navigation, chemistry and gunnery and steam.” Hindahl bet everything she had earned except $100, and it paid off for her. She ended the game with $16,100, but came short of first by just a couple thousand dollars. She went home with $2,000.
“This is something that has been on my bucket list forever,” Hindhal said.
Justin Vossler, a high school teacher from New York, won for the third day in a row.
For most of the game, Hindahl remained in second place, but fell to last at the end of the double Jeopardy round. She said if she didn’t bet everything, there’s a good chance she would have remained last. She didn’t feel 100 percent confident about the category, but just enough to feel OK wagering almost everything.
Being on the show was a hectic experience, she said. She had to arrive at 7 a.m. and hang in a room with every other contestant for that week, because they film a week’s worth of shows in one day.
Once she was out on the floor playing, though, it was over in a flash.
“It goes so fast,” Hindahl said. “You don’t have time to be nervous. You have to focus on the board and keep going.”
Overall, Hindahl said she was happy with how she performed. Her trivia knowledge is pretty well-rounded, she said, but she didn’t get handed any specialty categories that she really would have been able to ace. As a pharmacist, anything medical would have been perfect. She also has a degree in anthropology and a minor in art history, so any category having to do with that, or music, would have been right up her alley.
To prepare for the game, Hindahl and her husband watched Jeopardy every night. She’d been in quiz bowl in high school, and had plenty of experience with trivia nights. She studied a game show trivia book, and just tried to learn what she could, even though it’s difficult to know what she would need to know.
To become a Jeopardy contestant, hopeful players must pass an online test. Once they pass that, the contestant department may contact them for an audition within a year of the test. Contestants are selected to compete based on a combination of their online test score, their in-person test score and their performance in the audition game and interview.