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This is how you go from a Salt Lake City software engineer to a lecturer worldwide.
What is win $2.5 million on a game show?
"I couldn't even believe I got a chance to be on Jeopardy," Ken Jennings said. "I just wanted not to make a total idiot of myself. I didn't even expect to win one game, much less 74."
But Ken Jennings trip from obscurity to celebrity has him circling the globe speaking to professionals and students, including Tuesday at Sam Houston State.
"One of the great things about doing this public speaking tour is I've gotten to visit cities and states I've always wanted to go to, like Texas," Jennings said.
Indeed, save for a layover at a Houston airport, this was the Jeopardy champ's first visit to the Lonestar State. And really, what visit anywhere would be complete without a good old fashion quiz show. In this case, it was a bevy of Bearkats trying to conquer Ken.
"I always kept checking the Jeopardy website to see when are the next signups," said Bearkat student Sean Fennel. "It really got me more into the show and more into all this sort of stuff."
"I've been a huge Jeopardy fan since I was a little kid," said another student, Grant Keener. "I remember watching Ken and just wanting to be able to get on Jeopardy so I could beat him."
"People tell you stories about how they cancelled their vacation to watch you on Jeopardy, and you realize, for some reason, something you did really touched people, and that's really gratifying," said Jennings.
And where your mother may have always told you not to fill your head with all that useless knowledge, Jennings preaches the importance of the pastime that made him rich beyond his wildest dreams.
"Even if you never win a million dollars, I think trivia is great," he said. "It makes the world seem more interesting if you know something about what you see everyday. It makes you want to learn more about different subjects. Sometimes, a little trivia fact will get you interested in a whole new world of learning. And I think it makes it easier to get to know other people."
In his trivia challenge, a team of three Kats scratched their way to a win. But regardless of the winner, Jennings once again proved you never know who's going to grab the spotlight, or why.
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