FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On Wednesday, April 26, a Fort Wayne man will get to show off his trivia prowess on television screens across the country.
Current Fort Wayne resident and Huntington native Jesse Matheny will appear on an episode of Jeopardy! after he filmed for the show in Los Angeles in February.
Matheny said that he has been a Jeopardy! fan for as long as he can remember and that he considered the experience a “top of the bucket list item.”
“Once you get up there on Alex Trebek’s stage, that was when all the emotions kind of hit and it’s like ‘this is really happening,'” Matheny said.
Matheny told WANE 15 he had been taking the online test for over a decade before moving forward with the extensive process potential candidates must go through to appear on the show.
After more than a decade of taking the online, 50-question test — Matheny said those who take the test never know their scores — he eventually received an invite in 2022 for another 50-question test that was recorded over Zoom with a larger group of people.
Next, Matheny said he participated in both a mock game and an interview with the casting director for Jeopardy! before receiving a formal invitation to be on the show around a month later.
“It was just a rush of excitement,” Matheny said.
A self-described “lifelong learner,” Matheny said he was a huge fan of history and geography growing up and that he even became a social studies teacher for the first few years of his career.
To prepare for Jeopardy!, Matheny said he worked on studying what he considered his weaker subjects such as mythology and poetry.
Matheny said watching old episodes also helped him prepare for what the show might throw his way.
Before Matheny started filming for the show, he said he felt “cool and calm” before eventually feeling a rush of emotions once he got behind the podium.
“It was kind of like ‘let’s compose, you’re here, this is a dream come true, time to make it happen,'” Matheny said.
However, once the initial nerves settled, Matheny said the experience was a “total rush.”
“Hearing Ken [Jennings] say your name when you buzz in that very first time to answer was just something I will never forget,” Matheny said.
Matheny said he plans to attend a small watch party with family and friends on Wednesday to watch himself on TV, and although he already knows what the outcome will be, Matheny said he is both nervous and excited to see it play out from home.
“To get to watch it and experience it all over again with that support system and the group that’s kind of been with me the whole time, it’s going to be awesome,” Matheny said.
Matheny’s Jeopardy! debut can be watched on WANE 15 on Wednesday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. EST.