What’s the movie released in 1994 that won Best Actor in a Leading Role and six Oscars at the 1995 Academy Awards? Those who are good at trivia challenges would likely correctly guess “Forrest Gump.” And just like Tom Hanks’ character’s way of describing life like a box of chocolates, when trying to portray the multiple opportunities for weekly trivia challenges in the Lake Norman area, “You never know what you’re gonna get.”
From mathematical calculations to modern song titles, celebrity sightings to country capitals, the range of topics knows no bounds at trivia showdowns hosted by bars, restaurants, breweries and other locales throughout the region.
The questions can test geographical and historical recollections along the lines of: Name the states formed, all or in part, out the region acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. *
Or they can be designed to require a systematic mix of common sense and random awareness in a multi-phase answering process like: If you hear a snippet of the song “Straight Up,” name the song’s artist; use the artist’s initials to identify a state mailing code; and then name that state’s capital.** Whew. Given that kind of stress, it’s no wonder most places offer beer to accompany the games.
The trivia game options in the area, available Monday through Thursday, are all open to the public. Most offer prizes – usually gift certificates for the host establishment – and one even has a trophy sporting its own Facebook page.
Hosting and honoring the winners
Trivia challenges at local establishments range from customized quizzes designed specifically for communities and regular clientele, to weekly compilations or countrywide questions allowing combatants to compare their knowledge with folks in other areas.
For those who compete, and those who piece together each week’s collection of perplexing posers, trivia competitions are anything but trivial.
Throughout the Lake Norman region, many teams and several families plan their weeks around trivia night at their favorite neighborhood watering hole or local restaurant. The games vary, but just about everyone involved says the two-part goal remains the same: Number 1, have fun; and number 2, find out just how much you do, or don’t, really know.
To make the games a reality, someone has to take charge. Michael Davis, Nate Mecha and James Allen are three of the individuals who embrace roles as Lake Norman area hosts and quizmasters.
Davis of Triviosity Trivia, and Mecha of Tri-Cities Trivia, create multi-phase trivia challenges for each location they serve. And last year Allen jumped at the chance to bring the West Coast-based Geeks Who Drink competition to the Lake Norman area.
Currently, Davis hosts Triviosity outings at Jack’s Corner Tap and Lake Town Tavern. He’s operated Triviosity for 10 years, and in the last five years has developed a strong following in Cornelius that has led to more than 276 weeks of hosting competition.
Mecha was retired when he developed the idea of providing a traveling trivia show.
On July 24, he hosted his 81st weekly game at the Harp and Crown Pub and Kitchen in Cornelius and was recruited by the Applebee’s restaurant in Mooresville to host trivia on Wednesdays.
“It’s important to get to know the people and have a good relationship with them,” Mecha said, adding some team members contact him each week to reserve a table for Harp and Crown competition.
Allen, who discovered the Geeks Who Drink game while living in Albuquerque, N.M., said soon after his career required a move to the Lake Norman area, he learned about the search for a Mooresville GWD quizmaster.
“I love to play, and it was really cool when I found it was going to be available here,” Allen said.
Allen hosts Wednesday night games at Ghostface Brewing in Mooresville that regularly attract several dozens of competitors.
Other places feature personalized touches. At Old Town Public House in Cornelius, the Tuesday night Thinkin’ and Drinkin‘ event features three rounds of competitions, with one segment focused on tidbits from a handpicked movie of the week. Details are posted online prior to the event on OTPH and Thinkin‘ and Drinkin‘ sites.
Every venue offers prizes to the winners, which usually involve discount cards at the host establishment or, sometimes, gifts from sponsoring businesses. But at OTPH, there’s an added memento for those demonstrating consistent excellence. The Thinkin’ and Drinkin’ Trophy, prominently displayed over the bar, has been awarded on numerous occasions, with winners urged to share pictures of the trophy’s travels.
“There’s one of the trophy whitewater rafting,” OTPH bartender Megan Shook said. “I love that one.”
And at Summit Coffee on Main Street of Davidson, claiming top honors in a weekly Monday night battle also comes with the significant prestige of being recognized as the top brainiac – at least for a week – in a cerebral college community. To make sure the weekly winners earn their honors, members of a four-person team take turns preparing questions and hosting Monday night competitions.
Here are some options of where to go to test your knowledge:
Applebee’s Grill + Bar
Tri-Cities Trivia 8 p.m. Wednesdays
137 Norman Station Blvd., Mooresville
Contact host at firstname.lastname@example.org, 704-200-7106
Ass Clown Brewing Co.
Hosted by George Peterson of the Cornelius branch library
7:30 p.m. Mondays
10620 Bailey Road, Cornelius
Fairways and Greens
7:30 p.m. Wednesdays
2052 Country Club Road, Lincolnton
Geeks Who Drink 7 p.m. Wednesdays
427 E. Statesville Ave., Mooresville
Harp and Crown Pub and Kitchen
Tri-Cities Trivia 8 p.m. Tuesdays
19930 W. Catawba Ave., Cornelius
Email host at email@example.com
Hickory Tavern – Huntersville
8 p.m. Wednesday
9526 Birkdale Crossing Drive, Huntersville
Hickory Tavern – Mooresville
8 p.m. Tuesdays
115 Morrison Plantation Pkwy., Mooresville
Jack’s Corner Tap
Triviosity Trivia 8 p.m. Wednesdays.
8301 Magnolia Estates Drive, Cornelius
Music Trivia 7 p.m. Wednesdays
123 Ervin Road, Mooresville
King Canary Brewing Company
Tacos & Trivia 7 p.m. Wednesdays
562 Williamson Road, Mooresville
Lake Town Tavern
Triviosity Trivia 8 p.m. Thursdays
19708-K W. Catawba Ave., Cornelius
Main Street Tavern
7 p.m. Tuesdays
160 S. Main St., Huntersville
Old Town Public House
Thinkin’ and Drinkin’ 8 p.m. Tuesdays
21314 Catawba Ave., Cornelius
www.drinklivemusic.com; Thinkin’ and Drinkin’ on Facebook
8 p.m. Tuesdays
188 N. Main St., Mooresville
7 p.m. Thursdays
694 Brawley School Road, Mooresville
Customized community game
7:30 p.m. Mondays
128 S. Main St., Davidson
The Kilted Buffalo – Birkdale
8 p.m. Wednesdays Team Trivia
8:30 p.m. Thursdays Music Trivia
8625 Townley Road, Huntersville
* In the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the United States acquired 828,000 square miles of land from France. All or part of 15 states – Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming – were formed out of the region.
**For example: you hear “Straight Up” and guess (correctly) Paula Abdul as the performer; you know PA is the mailing code for Pennsylvania; and, of course, you know that state’s capital is Philadelphia, no wait, Pittsburgh, no ... ah, Harrisburg!
And voila, you are a trivia player.