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Answer: This Harrison Countian completes ‘Jeopardy’ bucket list

Answer: This Harrison Countian completes ‘Jeopardy’ bucket list
Answer: This Harrison Countian completes ‘Jeopardy’ bucket list
Marcus Gresham, right, on the set of "Jeopardy" with host Alex Trebek during an August taping. Submitted photo

Corydon resident and 1988 North Harrison High School graduate Marcus Gresham in August scratched off the one item he had on his bucket list.
What was on Gresham’s bucket list?
What is being a contestant on ‘Jeopardy,’ Alex.
Gresham knew of the show in its early days with Art Fleming from his parents and the game, but he was hooked once it came back with Alex Trebek in 1984.
‘I’ve been watching it ever since,’ he said Friday.
Gresham first tried to get on the show about 15 years ago, after he passed the initial test that took place at Oxmoor Mall in Louisville.
Now, that test can be taken online, and it’s offered every 18 months or so.
After passing that test, Gresham was sent an email to pick a city for the next step in the try-out process, where another test is taken and four of five interesting stories Trebek may ask about are written down, as well as what the contestant would do with the winnings.
Then, potential contestants are put through mock ‘Jeopardy’ situations, with a buzzer and a question board to make sure the potential contestants weren’t dull or unenthusiastic, Gresham said.
The first time he tried, he went to Chicago, but this time Nashville, Tenn., was the spot.
‘You have 12 seconds to answer a question; 50 questions total,’ he said. ‘They don’t tell you how you do. I thought, ‘Well I probably didn’t do very well’.’
But, in late June/early July, he got the call he had always wanted, from ‘Jeopardy’ representatives. Gresham happened to be traveling in Fredericksburg and, as is often the case in Southern Indiana, his cell phone service was spotty.
‘I said, ‘Hold on, hold on, just let me get to the top of the hill’,’ Gresham said. ‘I pulled over and was able to hear.’
Gresham said he had multiple motorists and even a tractor driver pull over to ask if he was OK. He was not only OK, he was ecstatic. He was going to be on ‘Jeopardy.’
Gresham flew to California on Aug. 21 and took part in the ‘Jeopardy’ festivities the next two days. You might recall, Aug. 21 was the day of the solar eclipse in the United States, but Gresham missed it while traveling.
‘I got to see the sunset over the Pacific in Santa Monica,’ he said. ‘It was a fair trade.’
As for the ‘Jeopardy’ process, Gresham said there’s 13 people in the rotation for the day, which covers an entire week of episodes. It’s a blind draw each time to see which two get to join the defending champion.
‘I watched four games before they drew my name,’ he said.
Gresham met another contestant from Indiana ‘ Seymour ‘ who competed after him.
He said they were not given a list of potential categories that may appear on their day or any hint of information.
‘Not a thing; you don’t have a clue,’ he said of what may pop up on the blue screens.
He said contestants take part in practice episodes but not with Trebek. He only comes on when it’s the real thing.
‘He was nice, friendly,’ Gresham said of the 33-year host.
During commercial break times, Trebek walks over to the audience (100 to 150 people, Gresham estimated) and answers any question they might have.
Gresham warned, that before those viewing at home laugh at contestants because they miss an easy question, to remember what a tournament of champions participant said last week: ‘You’ve got five seconds to recall everything you’ve ever learned.’
Gresham’s episode will air Friday at 7 p.m. on CBS. He will have a watch party at That’s the Ticket in Georgetown. After the episode, his band ‘ Mouthbreather ‘ will take the stage.
Gresham also announces the boys’ and girls’ basketball and football games at North Harrison High School.