The Cereal Killers team from Eagle went all out at the 2018 Trick or Trivia event, from the left; George Hoelzl, Amanda Hoelzl, Randy Fournier, Jill Fournier, Laurie Barnes, Buddy Barnes, Lindsay Barnes, and Cameron Barnes. Cameron took home the prize for the Best Costume of the night. The event has grown so is moving to a larger venue this year to allow more teams.

It supports adult and child programming at area library

By Heather Ruenz

“People love a big party and that’s really what this has grown into. It’s a fun night with some friendly competition and supports a great cause,” Katie James said about Trick-or-Trivia.

It’s an event that was started by the Friends of Matheson Memorial Library in 2013 after James had spent a few days with her sister-in-law in St. Louis.

“I was trying to come up with an event to help raise money for the library’s programming budget and she told me about trivia nights in St. Louis. I then connected with Bob Kordus,” she said.

Kordus, of Lake Geneva, is with America’s Pub Quiz. James met him when the Friends group signed up for an event in Burlington.

The first Trick-or-Trivia event for the library had about 50 participants and the group made about $1,200.

How it works

The cost for Trick-or-Trivia is $25 per person and features teams of eight to 10 people working together to answer questions, which vary in point values based on their confidence in their answers. Hodgepodge teams are created from smaller groups and individuals who sign up.

Teams have the opportunity to get ahead with bonus sheets – usually picture trivia – and each team gets a bonus sheet for each round. Hints are sold for $5 to help those stuck on a question.

According to James, who co-chairs the event with Shelly Robinson, the teams that have the most success are diverse with people of varying ages (minimum of 18) and interests.

One team she said deserves a shout-out is Ward Phillips’ team, The Smartinis.

“They’ve won a few times. They’re really a lot of fun and are great supporters,” James said.

Phillips said while it is competitive, his team doesn’t lose sight of the purpose.

“I think we all realize it’s just good fun for a good cause. I like the game show-type buildup and seeing if I know the answers,” Phillips said.

His advice to those considering joining the event for the first time is to jump in and have fun.

And trust your gut.

“Your first instinct is usually right. We have talked ourselves out of the right answer a few times,” he said.

This year’s event will be Saturday, Oct. 26 and will be held at Sperino’s Monte Carlo Room. The doors will open at 6 p.m., with a pizza buffet being offered from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the trivia beginning at 7 p.m.

No walk-ins are allowed so teams/individuals have to be registered.

James said she finally found the big party people want to be part of.

“This event has continued to grow, and the library is a place that made me feel very welcome when I moved here so now I’m giving back,” James said.

To register online, visit or print out the form from the website and mail it to the address on the form. Forms also are available at the library and payment can be made there.

For more information, call 262-723-2678 or email

Read the rest of the story including how the event has grown and past questions in your local Southern Lakes Newspapers publication.


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