SPOILER ALERT: A Fort Wayne man competed on one of the world’s most popular game shows. Bellmont High School graduate Wayne Erxleben was on Jeopardy Wednesday night. He competed againt the record-breaking contestant, James Holzhauer who has won over a million dollars on the game show.
Unfortunately, Erxleben was not able take the champions seat from Holzhauer. He came in second place and answered 13 questions, including Final Jeopardy, correctly. Holzhaur now has a 15 game winning streak on the show. He went home with $73,621 dollars on Wednesday’s show.
“He’s great player,” Erxleben said. “He has a great skillset. Those that have been watching his winning streak know that his timing on the buzzer is nearly perfect. So you have to adapt to that to figure out just exactly how to get your timing to get it ahead of him.”
To get on the show, a person has to pass an online qualifying quiz and get through an in-person audition.
Erxleben passed the quiz three times in the last few years, but never got invited to an audition.
On his fourth attempt in Spring 2018, he passed the 50-question quiz once again. He then finally got to go to an in-person audition July 2018 in Detroit, which consisted of an interview, written test, and mock games.
In January 2019, he was officially invited to be in a taping of the show in February.
“I was elated,” he said. “For the next month pretty much all my waking hours that I wasn’t at work I was on the computer looking things up or I was studying betting strategy.”
He spent a lot of time on Wikipedia and reading the book How to Get on Jeopardy! and Win.
Then the 55-year-old engineer flew out to L.A. for the opportunity of a lifetime.
“It feels great,” he said. “It was a great experience. The whole process. Preparing for it, going out to Las Angeles, seeing the studio, seeing what happens behind the scenes, meeting Alex Trebek, and competing at the highest level of trivia.”