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Sports, music, movies, more: locals team up for trivia

January 12, 2011 - Brandon Twp.- In what movie does James Caan play a writer held prisoner by a deranged fan? Who has the most career Super Bowl rushing yards? Which U.S. state was the first to give the vote to African-Americans? What type of fossilize tree resin is often used in jewelry?

These are just a sampling of the kinds of questions faced by players of Team Trivia, a game franchise growing in popularity and played at bars across America.

Locally, Bullfrogs Bar and Grill, 2225 Ortonville Road, has hosted Team Trivia for the past seven weeks at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evenings.

"We wanted to increase business and do something unique and new to the area that no one else was doing," said Bullfrogs General Manager Jim Flaherty. "It was happenstance that Mike walked in the door the day I started to look into different trivia companies."

Mike Beer, aka DJ Murph, is the Team Trivia host at Bullfrogs. Team Trivia is free to all customers. Beer comes in and sets up his DJ system and 15 minutes before starting, he explains the game to all patrons in the building. Each game consists of six rounds of questions, and each round has three questions to which teams can assign a value of one, three, or five points after they hear the question. The same point value can not be used twice in a round, however, so if a team is certain of the answer, they would want to wager five points, but if they didn't know the answer or were only guessing, they would assign a lower point value.

After each question is asked, teams can ponder their answer while a song is played. They write down their responses on an answer sheet provided by Beer and turn it into him before the song is over and the correct answer is read. It is against the rules to shout out an answer or to use any electronic devices to find an answer. There is a half-time question after three rounds in which more points can be wagered. The last question in the game is similar to the final question in Jeopardy, in which up to 15 points can be bet, but unlike previous questions, if you bet and are wrong, the points are deducted from your total.

Prizes are awarded to the top three teams, with the winning team receiving a $25 Bullfrogs gift card, the second place team winning a $15 card, and the third place team getting $10.

In the first week of hosting Team Trivia, four teams participated. In recent weeks, that has doubled to about eight teams, and Flaherty hopes to see 10-12 teams participating every week. There is room, he said, for up to about 20 teams and they come up with their own crazy names, said Flaherty. Last week, "The Morons" won.

"It's a fun friendly competition and everyone is trying to prove they are smarter than everyone else," Flaherty said. "It's pretty funny when Team Moron wins."

Beer said the Team Trivia questions are generated from Answer Is Productions. Team Trivia of Michigan is a franchisee of Team Trivia based in Atlanta, Ga., the country's number one trivia entertainment company.

"We have really diverse questions and it makes it more valuable for people to do this as a team," said Beer. "The best, most successful teams have a diverse demographic and can answer a wide range of questions, about Lady Gaga or legislation from the 1920s."

Beer, who runs shows for the franchise on the eastern side of the state, said there is a team from Lapeer County where members range from a 75-year-old grandmother on down to her 25-year-old granddaughter.

Questions cover a range of topics, including general knowledge, music, sports, movies, history, science and more. All new questions are generated daily and used across the country whereever Team Trivia is hosted.

The most popular topics, Beer said, are music and movies and the least popular are geography and history.

"The killer question, or one that no one got right, was about U.S. presidents, or quotations," he said. "Also, people know a lot less about the Olympics than you would think."

Sometimes, contestants swear that their answer is right or that Beer's answer is wrong, but Team Trivia answers are all researched thoroughly.

For the record, the answers to the trivia questions at the beginning of this story are as follows: "Misery," Franco Harris (354), Iowa, and amber.

For more details on Team Trivia or a hint, visit teamtriviami.com or call Bullfrogs at 248-627-7755.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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