Hayden resident Melinda Dudley’s life destined for trivia
Where to watch
What: Hayden resident Melinda Dudley competes on "Jeopardy!"
When: 6 p.m. Monday
Steamboat Springs — Hands sweating, mind racing, heart beating at a rapid pace, it’s as if time is at a standstill when three contestants await the most opportune moment to prove their knowledge and skill.
In the syndicated television game show “Jeopardy!,” signaling that a contestant has an answer with the click of a buzzer is an art form.
For Hayden resident Melinda Dudley, her quick wit and uncanny ability to think on her feet were put to the test as she was selected to be one of the contestants on the show.
The “Jeopardy!” episode Dudley competed in will air at 6 p.m. Monday. The KMGH-TV station will show the programming on Channel 7.
Growing up watching “Jeopardy!” with her family in California, she remembers yelling out answers that begin with the illustrious phrase, “What is …”
Destined with a knack for trivia, she went on to become one of those bright intellectual figures on the luminous screen of the TV.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Dudley said, reflecting on the whirlwind of events that occurred throughout a few months. “I love that show and never thought I would get called to be on it.”
Curious about the world around her, Dudley described herself as someone who enjoys looking up information about anything and everything, always finding an answer to the question at hand.
While she admitted that she was never the best at sports trivia, anything from history to pop culture or geography are more her forte.
As an avid trivia extraordinaire, she frequented the local trivia scene in almost every town she lived in. Once she moved to Routt County for the first time in 2007, she often took part in the trivia nights at The Tap House Sports Grill, among other places in Steamboat.
“I used to joke and say trivia is the only sport I’m good at,” she said with amusement.
One night each year for a half-hour, she would take the online trivia test from the “Jeopardy!” website just for fun.
Composed of 50 questions, the online test is available for anyone to take. If an individual passed, he or she would be invited for an in-person audition and interview process.
After graduating from George Washington University last year, she traveled to New York in May to take another 50-question test. She passed and moved on to a group interview with a dozen or so other people.
Then in late February 2014, she got the call and went to Los Angeles for the filming portion of the show.
With a two-week time frame from when she found out about her selection as a contestant to the filming of the show, there was no time for trivia preparation.
She came fully prepared with her existing level of nerd.
Selected as one of the first contestants for filming, she remembered the chaotic atmosphere that began when she arrived at the studio, as well as other bits and pieces from the day.
“It seemed as if it was over before it even started because the day went by so fast,” she said. “It’s one of those experiences where you don’t really register you are there doing it, and then you get out and it’s over.”
While she was playing, she got the feeling that she and the other two contestants knew about 85 percent of the questions — but the real challenge was the race to buzz in.
In a specific amount of time, quick judgments needed to be made.
“The challenge was deciding if you’re going to go through with it or not,” she said about the buzzing strategy. “If you know or you think you might have an educated guess, by the time you finish reading the question, you have to come up with something.”
Because the show hasn’t aired yet, Dudley couldn’t release any details about the categories, questions or winner of the show.
On Monday, she looks forward to seeing the eventful chaos of the day boiled down to 22 minutes of showtime.
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