Coyote Jack’s pairs up with Phi Alpha Theta for their first history trivia night

Christopher Massana

Stephanie Mundo, a senior history major and president of the  History Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta, asks participants a question  during the first round of History Trivia Night. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
Stephanie Mundo, a senior history major and president of the History Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta, asks participants a question during the first round of History Trivia Night. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

Coyote Jack’s isn’t generally thought of as a place for brainy discussions on history, but that changed for two and a half hours on the evening of Feb. 26 when the Phi Alpha Delta hosted their first history trivia competition. With $50 and $25 Amazon gift cards as the prizes for first and second place, over 25 students showed up to try their hand at the competition.

“We were trying to think of something fun to do with the History Honors Society, because the history department gets a bad rap for being boring nerds,” said Stephanie Mundo, senior history major and president of Phi Alpha Theta, who emceed the event. “So I figured that if we do something fun, then we would be able to draw in more people and maybe get people more interested in history.”

The night started off easily enough. Jack’s was a bit on the sparse side in terms of crowd, with about 25 or so people seated to watch the trivia, but others were clustered together in preparation for the beginning of the questions. Before the competition started, many of the students who were planning on competing enjoyed a pre-game meal along with some friendly teasing, and more than a few already started in on the beer. Mundo stood on the stage, where a table and projector had been set up to show questions and check answers.

Michael Wright, a senior history major, ponders a trivia question  with teammate Ashley Herbert, a senior political science and history  major. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
Michael Wright, a senior history major, ponders a trivia question with teammate Ashley Herbert, a senior political science and history major. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

At last, trivia night began just past 7 p.m. The rules were simple — individuals or teams would each receive a score sheet and a stack of Post-its to write their answer on. There were 30 questions divided up into five rounds. Each question had a three-minute answer period where students would run their Post-it up to the stage.

Questions ranged from the easy: “What are the four dominions of Great Britain?” (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) — to tricky: “Which President began U.S. involvement in Vietnam?” (Eisenhower). From there, it transitioned to the table-bangingly difficult: “Who was the last ‘good’ Roman Emperor?” (Marcus Aurelius). Contestants groaned in response as the correct answer was announced.

A participant in the History Trivia Night writes down the team's  answer. Contestants could work individually or as a team to answer  questions. Photo by Ryan Murphy.
A participant in the History Trivia Night writes down the team’s answer. Contestants could work individually or as a team to answer questions. Photo by Ryan Murphy.

Participants would go from being thrilled to angry at missing something in a matter of minutes. Many ordered beer during breaks between rounds, and the frustration at incorrect answers, which became more frequent as the questions got harder, only grew. But through it all, participants never stopped having a good time. “Oh, we’re having plenty of fun here. Plenty of beer. Fun!” said Michael Wright, senior history major. “Beer and history!”

At the end of the night, after two hours of guessing, chatting, eating, and drinking, history major James Turner took home the first place prize. “It’s pretty surprising, I was kind of behind in the beginning … but I think that everyone did a really outstanding job, though.”