They went up against 60 teams from all across Colorado, but when the final bell sounded, Coldcock!!! delivered the knockout blow.
The six-person trivia team, featuring three New Mexican savants (and three Coloradans), made the trek to Denver to compete in the regional Geeks Who Drink Geek Bowl. Coldcock!!! brought home the tournament’s first-place trophy and a big cardboard check worth 1,500 clams.
The team not only triumphed over stiff competition, but it obliterated its fellow dweebs by a substantial margin. Coldcock!!! member and Albuquerque resident Jason Zuffranieri says he knew his team was something special. “The point difference between us and second place was the same as the difference between second and 24th place. There was a real clustering once you got past us.”
Coldcock!!! members Zuffranieri and Sara Lehmann separately went one-on-one with the Alibi, but for brevity, we rolled it into one interview.
What was the format of the competition?
I don't want the reputation of being a douchebag winner. But I was kind of attached to the trophy.
Sara Lehmann, trivia champ
Jason: There were eight rounds with 10 or more questions each. One was identifying music that was being played by a guy with a ukulele. That was nice. One was watching fight scenes from movies and identifying the movie, and one was looking at pictures of famous women when they were kids and saying who they were.
Do you have any pregame rituals?
Jason: We're actually pretty boring in that regard. I think we did the “Whoooa Bundy!” chant from “Married ... with Children.” Some of the teams dress up, or they have a theme. One of the teams was dressed like the six characters from Clue.
Did you ever doubt you would be the winners?
Sara: We were in first place all night. But every time they announced the leader it came as a shock.
Did you do any obnoxious showboating once you won?
Jason: I don't think so. I've kind of been treating it like a victory for New Mexico. Everyone assumed it was going to be a Colorado city that was going to win.
I don't go to tractor pulls. I go to trivia things.
Jason Zuffranieri, of Coldcock!!!
Sara: There was a lot of bouncing up and down and hugging people I didn't know. I try not to be braggy. I don't want the reputation of being a douchebag winner. But I was kind of attached to the trophy.
What was the key to success in the Geek Bowl?
Jason: We brought so much knowledge. Everyone really enjoyed trivia and had been playing for years. I don't begrudge any of the other teams, but we were an all-star team. Typically, we didn't just know the answer, we had three or four people saying the answer.
Sara: We really listened to each other.
How long have you been playing trivia games?
Jason: I've always watched "Jeopardy!" and I've been doing these types of competitions against other teams for a little over 10 years.
Sara: Most of my life. I'm a trivia junkie. My lifelong ambition is to be on "Jeopardy!"
What attracts you to trivia?
Jason: It's a real pure form of competition, and there's a teamwork aspect. I've always been that kind of brainy nerd type, and this is what I do. I don't go to tractor pulls. I go to trivia things.
Sara: I have a really good memory for really ridiculous stuff, and I have a tendency to be an insufferable know-it-all.
What should people know about playing trivia games that they probably don’t?
Jason: You should always be putting something down, even if you don't know the answer. I think some teams will say, "Oh, we don't know, we're not going to put anything down because we don't want to look stupid." A lot of times, there's more to a question than might meet the eye. There's usually some little clues that can get you to the answer, even if you don't know a thing about what they're talking about.
Sara: Anyone can be good at trivia. Even if you don't think you know trivia, whether you win or lose, it's a good time.
I have a trivia question for you.
Jason: Oh gosh, OK.
On NBC’s “The Office,” what’s the name of the paper company where the characters work, and where is it located?
Jason: I don't actually watch “The Office,” but it is in Scranton, Pa., if I'm not mistaken. And it's Dunder Mifflin.
Sara: I know it’s Dunder Mifflin, but I don’t know where it is. The only reason I know that is because I’m reading the Alibi’s “Week in Sloth” right now. I don’t watch the show.
Jason, how do you know the answer without watching the show?
Jason: From these trivia things. I've been places where they've asked questions about Dunder Mifflin.