2010-A College Championship 1st runner-up: $50,000.
Hometown: Saratoga, California.
Ryan Stoffers Blog Entry 3
February 11, 2010
Instead of going first for the semi-finals, I ended up going last. When Lindsay, Dan, and I realized we would be playing each other, we all agreed to try our best to put on a competitive, fast-paced game, which I think we did. Lindsay had better buzzer-timing, and was leading going into Final Jeopardy! I had managed to stay close by minimizing my incorrect responses when I won on the buzzer. On FJ, the correct answer, John Paul Jones, was the first thing that popped in my head, but I didn't think it was correct. I couldn't come up with anything better, so I went with it and finished writing right as the music ended. I had figured I had lost, and was forcing myself to be content with being a semi-finalist. When Alex showed Dan's response, I figured it was the correct one, but it wasn't. When he showed mine, I was shocked to hear I was correct. And when Lindsay was incorrect, her bet was revealed and I had won. I was so happy, I couldn't believe it. Lindsay and Dan were great competitors and I couldn't believe I made it through. I had more tough competition in front of me, though, so I tried to just eat lunch and relax my nerves in preparation for the finals.
Ryan Stoffers Blog Entry 2
February 2, 2010
My arrival in California wasn't too spectacular, as I haven't left it in over a year. On Monday, I went to class during the day and a birthday dinner for my roommate that night, and then I drove over to the hotel, making sure I got there early enough to get plenty of sleep. The next morning, I ordered room service for breakfast and headed down to the lobby. There, I met the other 14 contestants and the alternate. Everybody was really nice and excited to be there. We were all big fans of the show and couldn't believe we were about to take the stage. After we arrived at Sony Studios, we were quickly brought into the Green Room and informed that we couldn't leave unless we were with a Jeopardy! employee. People started going in for make-up, and while I tried to delay it as long as possible, eventually it was my turn. After that ordeal was over, we proceeded out for the rehearsal games. Seeing the real-life Jeopardy! set was amazingly fun. The giant game board, Alex's lectern, and the contestant podiums were all things I had seen a million times on TV, and now I got to see them for real. The rehearsal game questions were all really easy so I couldn't really tell who my toughest competition was going to be, but it was fun to stand at the podium and give responses. This was also the first time I got to use the buzzers, and I tried to get my timing down, no easy task. While watching other contestants rehearse, I noticed that almost all of us moved our thumbs at the end of the clue, trying to build some muscle memory. One of the most fun parts of the experience was seeing Alex Trebek being candid. He is extremely nice and funny, always cracking jokes with the audience. At the end of the first day, we had to shoot the commercial for the online test. We knew it was supposed to be over-the-top, so we all went all-out. It was a little awkward being the one who was filmed, but it was hilarious watching everyone else being filmed. When we left the stage, I knew the next I came back I would be a contestant standing at a podium, competing for $100,000.
I was surprised to be called first, but in hindsight I'm glad I was. I didn't really have time to sit around the green room getting nervous, although I was a little bummed I wouldn't get to watch the movies. My make-up was touched up, I was hooked up to a microphone, and then I was led out to the second podium. I saw my family out of the corner of my eye, and could see they were surprised to see me in the first batch of contestants. The game goes by in a flash. I got into a good rhythm in Double Jeopardy!, and saw my lead was widening. I'm not great at betting strategy, so I was trying to get a run-away so I could just relax. Luckily I did, and for Final Jeopardy! I bet $511, which is my room number at school. It turned out I was the only one to get the FJ right. I was ecstatic to be the first semi-finalist and got to watch the rest of the games. Watching the rest of the games was just like watching the show on TV, except I knew all the contestants beforehand and got to see when they stopped tape. After filming was over, I went out to dinner with my family and made my way back to my hotel. I studied my flash cards a little bit, but mostly just tried to get to bed early, as the next day would be the day when everything would be decided.
Ryan Stoffers Blog Entry 1
February 2, 2010
My name is Ryan Stoffers and I'm a sophomore at UCLA originally from Saratoga, CA, a tiny suburb of San Jose. I'm a Mathematics/Economics major and I hope to go to graduate school for Economics and eventually get a Ph.D. At school, I'm really enthusiastic about UCLA UniCamp, a charity I'm involved in. We take underserved kids from the LA area up to the mountains for a week of summer camp. It's a ton of fun for me and for them, and I can't wait to do it again this summer.
I have been a huge fan of Jeopardy! for as long as I could remember. As I got older, I could answer more and more clues right, so I decided to try out for the show. The online test was difficult, but I felt that I did well on it. It was pretty fast-paced, just like a real Jeopardy! game. When I got the e-mail telling me I received an audition, I was cautiously optimistic. I had made it to the audition part before and had never made it to the show. Luckily, the audition location was a short drive away from my school, so I didn't have to think too much about it beforehand, although I definitely made sure I got plenty of sleep the night before. At the audition, I felt pretty confident. While everyone around me said the written test given there was impossible, I thought it was completely manageable, which added to my confidence. The audition is a lot of fun, even if you don't make it, so I had a good time, but I figured I would be disappointed again.
I was sitting in class one Thursday when I felt my phone ringing in my pocket. I saw it was in LA number I didn't recognize. Looking back, I should have assumed it was one of my local friends who had gotten a new cell phone number, but for some reason I knew it would be Jeopardy! I wasn't able to focus for the rest of class and I started checking my voice mail before I was out the door. I was so excited when I heard Maggie from Jeopardy! telling me to call her back at my earliest convenience, which happened to be right that very second. I figured that, since I was local, she was going to be nice and make me an alternate. When she told me I was actually going to be on the show, I couldn't believe it. I was so thrilled I couldn't even sit down and kept pacing around while I made phone calls. I immediately called my parents, grandparents, and closest friends. I then realized that Finals Week was starting in three days, and it was going to be hard to focus and study.
Over Winter Break, I didn't have that much to do, so I filled a lot of time catching up on the backlog of Jeopardy! on my DVR and studying stuff. I made sure to grab a clicky pen and get my timing (hopefully) perfect, and I practiced only answering when I was completely sure I was right. I randomly had a "Dictionary of Cultural Literacy" which I used to make flash cards about literature, opera, and art (my worst categories by far), along with capitals, presidents, and miscellaneous facts. Hopefully one or two of those things will come up. If not, oh well, I guess I'm now just culturally literate. It's not quite winning $100,000 but I guess it could be a good alternative.