July 14, 2024 Donate

Community, Dexter

Dexter Community Plays Jeopardy! with Local Champ

By Natalie Davies

Dexter community members engaged in a localized version of the popular trivia game Jeopardy! hosted by Ben Goldstein at the Bicentennial Celebration.

Goldstein, a Dexter resident and 5-time Jeopardy! winner who returned for the show’s Tournament of Champions back in February, asked three different participants– one team played as a pair– 5 questions from six different Dexter-history related categories and a final question every day of the Bicentennial celebration last weekend.

Elise Troczynski won on Friday, Dr. Bryan Vos took home the win on Saturday and teacher Patrick Ritt left with the win on Sunday, the last day.

Participants signed up using a link and could choose to participate as a one or two person team. Goldstein said the best contestants brought personality and a quick hand on the bells used for buzzers.

Jeopardy! contestants need to have great timing on the signaling device to be successful,” Goldstein said. “That’s true on the TV show, and it was especially true during our Dexter Jeopardy games, where the contestants didn’t have the benefit of lights on a video screen telling them when to buzz in. The players who figured out how to strike their bells as soon as I was done reading each question tended to do very well.”

Goldstein said Bicentennial Board Member Thomas Morris deserves a ton of credit as the lead producer of the Dexter Jeopardy event. Thomas built the set, wrote the majority of the questions, coordinated schedules with the contestants and contributed to prize-wrangling.

The questions focused on Dexter’s history but weighed more toward the first 100 years after the town’s foundation in 1824.

Goldstein said his favorite thing he learned this weekend didn’t come from any of the questions, but from Friday contestant and local firefighter Kyle Jones.

“Jones told us that Mast Road was named after his great-great-grandfather,” Goldstein said. “Apparently, when the electric company was first connecting homes to power in our area, Mr. Mast’s house was the first one they came to on that road, and that’s how it got its name. That’s pretty incredible.”

Goldstein said he does his best to not turn the show into his identity or personality but is flattered to meet fans of the show who enjoyed watching him compete.

“Every time I do a Jeopardy!-related event in town, I get to meet even more Dexter residents who share my love of knowledge and are excited to support one of their neighbors,” Goldstein said. “As my fellow Jeopardy! champ Luigi de Guzman likes to say, ‘You never know whose day you made by being on the show.’ It’s incredible to know that I made so many people’s days just by representing our city. They’ve certainly made my day, many times over.”

Goldstein is grateful to the organizers of the Bicentennial Festival for inviting him to host, as the event has been a highlight of his summer so far.

“Now that I’ve seen it from both sides, I’d say that hosting a live game of Jeopardy! is just as challenging as playing one in a TV studio,” Goldstein said. “You have to keep the crowd engaged and improvise your way through any unexpected moments while keeping the production train on schedule. The experience was equal parts thrilling and terrifying—very much like the ‘Rock Star’ ride at the carnival that my son Vinny made me go on with him.”