A hush falls over the Glenn Miller Ballroom at the University of Colorado as over a thousand peopel slide to the edge of their seats in anticipation. Tension fills the air as the final event is readied; and event so close to the hearts of the audience that not a single chair is left vacant for fear of losing it to one of the many in the overflow crowd.
What is this, you wonder? What could capture the attention of so many people at a university as large and diverse at CU? It's the finals of the Annual Trivia Bowl, the most popular non-athletic event on campus.
The Annual Trivia Bowl has its roots in the nationally televised G.E. College Bowl - a show pitting the skill of one college against that of another in a test of knowledge. Dr. David Bowen, head coach of CU's undefeated 1967 College Bowl team and professor at the College of Business and Administration, combined the structure of the College Bowl and the subject matter of pop culture into a contest of trivia skill.
The bowl grew gradually in size. With the first bowl having 32 competing teams, that number grew to 48 teams the next year, 56 teams in 1980, and in 1983 to 64 teams.
Originally, the single elimination competition brackets were drawn at random. Starting in 1971 a seeding test was instituted, whereby teams who did well on the written exam were kept separate in the early rounds. Teams at this time were bracketed on a first-come, first-serve basis until 1983, when the top 64 teams were selected to compete out of the 90-plus teams that applied.
The bowl is organized by two groups. The first being Program Council who handles the technical aspects of the bowl such as promotion, t-shirt design and sales, programs, production, ans scheduling. The second group is the judges who are former bowl players and champions. They now devote a large amount of time to question-writing, seed test-grading, and determining the bracketing of teams. Over 5,000 questions will be asked during the week of Trivia Bowl and over 70% of those will never have been asked before.