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Bemidji, Minn., graduate to appear on popular TV quiz show 'Jeopardy' Friday

Galen Benshoof, a BHS graduate, poses with Alex Trebek. left. Benshoof will appear on "Jeopardy" tomorrow. Submitted photo

Galen Benshoof is a self-proclaimed trivia buff who will compete on trivia's biggest stage.

Benshoof, a 2001 Bemidji High School graduate, will appear as a contestant on "Jeopardy" Friday.

"I was thrilled," Benshoof said. "Making it to "Jeopardy" is the pinnacle of the trivia world."

Benshoof couldn't reveal the results of the show, but he hinted there will be some drama in his appearance.

The episode will air tomorrow, but Benshoof taped the show Nov. 29 at Sony Studios in Culver City, Calif.

The world of trivia is nothing new to Benshoof, who competed in Knowledge Bowl at Bemidji High School.

Benshoof, who now lives in Seattle, started the application process in February 2011 by filling out an online test, which he did mainly for fun. He never expected to be an actual contestant.

About 100,000 people take the online test each year, but only about 400 contestants make it on to the show.

Although he thought he did well on the test, Benshoof forgot about "Jeopardy" for a couple of months until he received an email inviting him to an in-person tryout.

The tryout took place in August and included a 50-question written exam and a mock round of "Jeopardy."

Soon after, Benshoof was invited to a taping. He was elated.

"I would watch the show when I was younger," he said. "I always thought it would be pretty cool to be on the show."

His parents, Paul and Jody, flew down to Los Angeles to view the taping, which lasted two days.

"My wife and I were more nervous than Galen was," Paul said. "He was smiling the whole time."

Paul grew up watching "Jeopardy" with original host Art Fleming.

Watching the contestants live was a completely different experience for Paul.

"It's much different than seeing it on TV," Paul said. "When it's live, the pressure seems to be ratcheted up."

Benshoof's girlfriend and her family also viewed the taping as members of the studio audience.

Benshoof likes to play trivia often, ranging from Trivial Pursuit to trivia games at bars

When visiting Bemidji, he also makes a point to play Monday night trivia at Brigid's Cross.

While Benshoof's parents plan to watch tomorrow's episode with a few friends, he has bigger plans in mind.

Benshoof invited all his friends to a private party at a favorite bar in Seattle, but he hasn't told them what the occasion is for.

"I'm trying to keep the results a secret so the show is a fun experience," Benshoof said. "People have been trying to get me to spill the beans."

Viewers with Paul Bunyan Television can watch the episode at 4:30 p.m. on KARE-11 (Channel 6) or at 7:30 p.m. on CBC (Channel 7). Midcontinent Communications viewers can watch on KARE-11 (Channel 6) at 4:30 p.m. or on CBWT (Channel 4) at 7:30 p.m.