Date of first appearance:
4-time champion, October 2003. Winner, Tournament of Champions, 2004
$65,800 in 4 regular games
$250,000 for winning 2004 Tournament of Champions
Do you have a nickname associated with your performance?
It's not really a nickname, but I have received nearly endless ribbing about the question that ended my original run. It was about the origin of “spam”--the unwanted e-mail variety--which I now know comes from a famous Monty Python sketch. As a result, I received several cans of SPAM and other SPAM memorabilia from friends, and during a radio interview they played the Monty Python song for me. The writers apparently wanted to have some more fun with me during the Tournament of Champions, when there was yet another question about Spam that I failed to answer. On the bright side, the amount of e-mail spam that I receive hasn't increased too much as a result.
Favorite anecdote associated with being on the show?
I am a graduate student in atmospheric science, and those of us that study the weather are often asked, “Oh, so you want to be a weatherman on TV?” Alex has asked me this twice during the interview segments. It's not the path I've chosen, but if someone out there wants to offer me a job, I might consider it!
Did being on Jeopardy! have any effect on your life?
At my original audition for the show, when the contestant coordinators asked what I would do with the big bucks if I won, I told them I would buy an engagement ring for my girlfriend. Little did I know that Jeopardy! would not only pay for the ring, but also a wonderful wedding and a down payment on a house with plenty to spare. We were just married at the end of January.
Did you do anything crazy with your winnings?
Instead of saying “Honey, can you buy me some jewelry?” or similar, my wife said “Honey, will you buy me a company?” She works as a pet sitter, and when the opportunity arose to purchase the company she works for, we decided to go for it. So, we will soon be owners of a pet sitting company that my wife will run.
Is there anything else you would like viewers to know about you?
Some of the groups I'm involved with would very much like the viewers to know that they know me, so, if I may--I graduated from Chaska High School in Chaska, Minnesota, and from Valparaiso University in Indiana. I play trumpet in the Loveland Concert Band, play baseball for the Hammers and softball for the Isotopes, and volunteer at the Food Bank for Larimer County. I just couldn't mention all of you on the air... hopefully this is some consolation.
"He won the most recent Tournament of Champions. A graduate student and newlywed from Fort Collins, Colorado..."
2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions Round 1 player: $5,000.
2004 Tournament of Champions winner (semifinalist by wildcard): $250,000.
Season 20 4-time champion: $65,800.
Russ's Jeopardy! page includes write-ups of his tournament experiences, details about his preparation, and web links.
Jeopardy! Message Board user name: rschumac12