Daily Double

Bill Schantz and Paul Bailey are beating the odds.

To keep that balance in his own question-writing, Bailey frequents websites such as Salon.com and reads books with such titles as Measure for Measure: The Story of Imperial, Metric and Other Units and Almost History: Close Calls, Plan B's and Twists of Fate in America's Past. He describes himself and his wife as "the kind of people who stay for the credits at the end of a movie."

Schantz, who met Bailey last year at CU's general-public Trivia Bowl, is also trying his hand at questions, coming up with 500 of them a week to feed Buzzer Battle and Barroom Brawl, two game shows he created and hosts at the Iliff Park Saloon, Draft Sports Grill and Eck's Saloon. "I write pretty much anytime I'm not at work," he says.

He has a sense of what works and what doesn't, having appeared on not one, but two game shows. In addition to winning on Jeopardy!, he recently earned a trip to Jamaica on Trivia Unwrapped. Schantz, who also describes himself as a "middle-aged white guy," suspects he overcame that demographic handicap by being a native of North Dakota.

Face-off: Bill Schantz (left) and Paul Bailey get ready 
to hit their buzzers.
Anthony Camera
Face-off: Bill Schantz (left) and Paul Bailey get ready to hit their buzzers.

"You hardly ever see people from North Dakota on Jeopardy!" he says. "I'm sure in California it's pretty much every day that someone is on a game show. In North Dakota it was big news."

As it would be for New Mexico if Bailey fulfills a second dream of establishing a game-show hall of fame in Truth or Consequences, the only city known to have adopted the name of a game show. The site will include interactive exhibits, a theater and a media vault. "The Congress gets inundated with requests for help finding tapes of old shows," Bailey says. "The vault will be a repository for all that stuff." Bailey also hopes to preserve pieces of game-show sets that he says are "sitting moldering in basements in California."

"I'm not a jump-up-and-scream-and-go-crazy kind of person, and maybe I haven't been quite as smart as some of the other folks that have been on these shows," Bailey says. "But I want to build something that will be robust and actually significant."

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