The first trivia contest, billed as a response to a now-defunct Lawrence event known as “Encampment,” was held April 29th, 1966. Students listening in to WLFM-AM were invited to call in that weekend to answer trivia questions in between songs. More than 10,000 calls were made to the station.
J.B. deRosset, the mastermind behind that weekend, was Lawrence University’s first trivia master. The contest remains an exclusively student-run affair.
The next year, the “Second Annual Great Midwestern Trivia Contest” allowed Appleton residents on off-campus teams to compete in a separate bracket. In 1973, the contest was moved to coincide with Lawrence’s otherwise depressing Winter Term. Other years saw the introduction of the action question and the Super Garruda, and a slight name-change for the contest.
Over the years, numerous publications have written about Trivia, including Playboy, Insight, and most of the papers in Wisconsin. Not to mention The Lawrentian, which has been there from the very beginning. Our new Publicity page is coming soon!
Anyone interested in playing Trivia can play. People can play by themselves if they prefer, but most people find it more enjoyable to play as a team. The teams are divided into on-campus and off-campus groups and scored in separate brackets, as both groups are not always asked the same questions. On-campus groups have played all over campus and can be dorm residences, student organizations, or any other group of students. Off-campus teams have played from as far away as Japan, although most teams are based in the greater Fox Valley area.
Registration starts before the contest. To learn about the registration for this year’s contest, see Current Contest.
The format of Trivia (except for the Credo itself) has varied over the years, but the contest always lasts from Friday at 10:00:37 p.m. to just after midnight on Sunday. Teams call in with answers to questions read on the air, receiving three guesses. A regular question is worth five points and should be answered in three minutes. No partial credit will be given for multiple-part answers.
In addition to the regular questions, on-campus teams participate in “action questions” (e.g. trying to compose the best love song or gather the most human hair), which are worth as much as ten points and have variable time limits.
On Sunday night near the close of the contest, three very difficult questions, known as “Garrudas,” are asked. Each Garruda is usually worth 25-50 points and must be answered in 10 minutes. Finally, the contest ends as it begins, with a Super Garruda. The Super Garruda is worth 100 points and must be answered in 20 minutes.
The gods among men who read the questions, known as Trivia Masters, are chosen in the fall by existing Trivia Masters after a grueling audition. Any Lawrence student is eligible, but those who’ve played in previous years have an advantage. Presiding over all of them is the Head Master, chosen by an outgoing Head Master from the ranks of current Trivia Masters. The new Head Master is named at the awards ceremony which marks the official end of Trivia Weekend. The word of the Head Master is law, and overrules anything written on this page.