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January 22, 2018

12/27/2017 2:22:00 PM
Oblong man realizes 'Jeopardy' dream
Oblong’s Cary Bonnell (right) with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. (Submitted photo)
Oblong’s Cary Bonnell (right) with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. (Submitted photo)
Answer: After years of trying, he finally made it onto the television series Jeopardy.

Question: Why is the Oblong Scholastic Bowl Team honoring one of its former members?

The team hosted a reception for Cary Bonnell in the Oblong Elementary School Oblong Room following his appearance on the show which aired Tuesday.

During the reception, the team showed an interview Bonnell did with WTWO and he shared a few words on his experience.

Bonnell, a project manager at Barry Callebaut Chocolate in Robinson, was notified he had been accepted for the show in August and taped his appearance during the week of Labor Day.

The game show appearance was the culmination of years of interest in trivia that began when he was in high school.

Bonnell was a member of OHS' first Scholastic Bowl Team coached by Joe Bayless. He graduated in 1984 has continued to participate in trivia tournaments throughout his life.

When he returned to Oblong about 10 years ago, he offered his expertise as a volunteer Scholastic Bowl co-coach.

And while work requirements have forced him to step down from that position this year, he continues to support the team and write questions for the team's annual Trivia Night competition.

Bonnell spent years attempting to get on Jeopardy.

"I'm stubborn that way," he joked.

He first tested and qualified in 1997. "Back in those days, you either had to fly out to L.A. to test or wait for them to do a contestant search," Bonnell explained. He traveled to Los Angeles and took his first test in the actual studio.

Bonnell remained a qualified potential contestant for years. He re-tested several times and auditioned four times.

When, after 20 years, the big day finally arrived, Bonnell expected to be nervous. That changed when he walked on the set and realized it looked smaller than it did on TV.

"I was never nervous," he said.

The taping allowed Bonnell to meet many interesting people from across the country. "It was a great experience," he said. "The conversation was quite lively."

Of course, he also met long-time Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. "He is a very nice and engaging gentleman," Bonnell said.

Also Tuesday, Rosati's in Robinson broadcast the episode on all their TVs.

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