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Original article

October 12, 2009

Sports Trivia King Wins Trip To Bahamas
By: Doug Harris, Dayton Daily News Staff Writer

Rob Walker plays weekly games of sports trivia with three of his buddies, but he figured he’d have no chance when the foursome entered a national sports trivia contest covering the last 25 years sponsored by NTN Buzztime Inc.

While he tried to brush up on the more obscure sports with the help of an almanac, the former member of the University of Michigan hockey pep band realized he didn’t need that cram session as he sat before an electronic board to take the test at a local Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers.

“It seemed like the questions we had the night we played were right up our alleys. They hit all our specialties,” the Dayton resident said.

“It was interesting. They asked who the head coach of the North Dakota hockey team was in 1997. I knew it was Dean Blais because I was at the Final Four that year.”

Walker aced the contest and became one of 18 participants nationally — and the only one from the Dayton area — out of a field of 141,000 to win a three-day trip to the Bahamas later this month.

“That was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had playing trivia,” said Walker, 34, a computer specialist and financial analyst for a Dayton wholesale company. “It didn’t matter who of us won. I was kind of embarrassed when I won. I just had so much fun playing that it really didn’t matter to me.”

In his words

“I was just sitting around at the bar after a band performance one day (in college), and they had trivia out, and we played that for fun. I decided I liked that. I’ve got a trivia mind. It’s kind of a final exam of your life experiences.

“One of the questions was, ‘Fifty-six led this category in the American League in 1981.’ It was stolen bases, and Rickey Henderson did that in a strike-shortened season.

“I won a trip to Las Vegas in 2005 on a NASCAR race-day prediction and trivia contest. ... It was a three-day, all-expense-paid trip where I went on Las Vegas Motor Speedway and drove laps in a modified stock car. I had the Richard Petty driving experience. It was incredible. I was going 143 (mph). I’ve had a few speeding tickets in my lifetime, so it was neat to get to do that legally.

“We’re pretty obnoxious (in the pep band). We’d taunt the other team’s goalie and stuff like that. ... Michigan has won the most college (hockey) championships, but up until 1996, they hadn’t won in 32 years. I was in the band for the national championship when we won. That was amazing.

“I’d sit on the floor (growing up) and study the back of baseball cards with my dad. And my mom would go through the trivia questions from Parade Magazine with me on Sunday nights.”

“If I wear Michigan things, (Ohio State fans) taunt me. If I don’t wear Michigan stuff and people know me, I still get taunted, and that’s OK. I still went 3-1 against Ohio State while I was in college.”

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2125 ?or dharris@DaytonDailyNews.com.

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