BELOIT - What popular snack food was created in the Stateline Area?
Hundreds of questions like this one and many others have been asked and answered each Wednesday at the Rock Bar and Grill, 101 Maple Ave., and each Thursday at Bushel and Peck's, 328 State St. Both are free and competitive social outings for groups of two or more. Find out more about Beloit's two weekly trivia nights:
The Rock Bar and Grill
At The Rock, Kelly and Kyle West compile a broad range of questions in an effort to entertain (and occasionally stump) their regular teams and maybe even a few newcomers starting at 7 p.m. each Wednesday.
They have been running The Rock's Trivia Night almost two years after taking it over from another couple. Kelly West said they started attending The Rock's trivia nights when she started bartending at the restaurant about three years ago.
They thought running the trivia nights would be easy and fun. They quickly realized the amount of work it takes. They said it takes about 9 to 10 hours to develop the trivia games each week.
"It's so incredibly time consuming. It's gotten to the point where we know we're doing it throughout the week, and something will pop up into your head and you know you'll have to take notes, because by the time you sit to think about making it into a question you've already forgotten about it," Kelly West said. "We spend our entire week thinking of questions."
This includes finding questions across multiple categories, such as sports, pop culture, this day in history, science and more. They then have to space out all of the questions to make sure there's a variety.
"We have to research and fact-check questions, because we have a lot of really smart people," Kelly West said. "If our answers aren't right, they'll know and they'll tell us immediately."
The hardest part for them is to keep coming up with new an exciting questions.
"After two years I feel like we're running out of information," Kyle West said.
They must be keeping the content fresh though, because there are some trivia members who have been coming to trivia night for at least six years.
Emily Mcente and Kate Virgo, who work at Beloit College, have been consistently coming for years with their fellow colleagues. As a team, everyone contributes something different. Mcente said she is successful at pop culture and song lyric questions, while Virgo enjoys making educated guesses and has a knack for 90s kids television shows.
They're actively recruiting for a team member who is knowledgeable about geography.
"We'll ask about (trivia) in job interviews just as a fun question to give people an idea of what happens in the community," Virgo said.
Betsy Henkel joined her colleagues on a cold winter night in January for some trivia, though she promised to only contribute to one question. However, over the years she has helped the Beloit College team come in first, second and third place many times.
Each trivia night at The Rock lasts about two hours, featuring 16 regular questions, a longer, multiple part half time question and a final question. The Wests also throw in a bonus physical challenge to keep people up and moving for a few minutes. In the past, they've done bowling, a scavenger hunt, bouncing ping pong balls on a spoon and more.
Over the years, they've also hosted theme nights where people can dress up for extra points. The themes have included: a 90's night, a Halloween Costume Party, a Christmas ugly sweater party, Disney and Harry Potter. Kyle West said the Harry Potter trivia night was so popular that every table was full.
Usually they get about 30-40 players each week and have six teams. People can sign up with the Wests at the restaurant.
Bushel & Peck's
Ten years ago, Bushel & Peck's co-owner Rich Horbaczewski decided to host a Trivia Night at his business, because his younger employees thought it would be fun. He didn't think it would be popular.
He admits that he was wrong, with 75-100 people showing up every Thursday night. The only time trivia night doesn't happen is when it happens to fall on a holiday. The night starts at 7:30 p.m. sharp and ends around 9 p.m.
Horbaczewski said most of the attendees are regulars, but newcomers are always welcome to walk in. They just might want to come in early to make sure they get a table.
"Even in the bad weather it's been well-attended, and it's a great way to get people together." Horbaczewski said. "It also gets very competitive."
He typically spends two to four hours each week coming up with questions. For those interested in coming, his trivia ends up being about one-third current events, and the rest are standard questions.
He used to make the questions difficult to stump all the professors and engineers who comprise a good chunk of the attendees, but now there's a good range between older adults and high school students.
"I learned over the years that stumping everyone isn't fun for them," Horbaczewski said.
However, that doesn't mean the questions are easy. After all, teams are competing for some coveted prizes. Every team member who scores the most points wins a free dinner. Every second place team member gets a bottle of wine (or another prize if they're under 21), and every third place team member wins a free coffee drink.
Gail Hill has been coming to Bushel & Peck's Trivia Night for about two years. She said it was her children who convinced her to make a team, though they have their own team, too. Her kids have been coming since they were in high school, and one graduate who has a full-time job up in the Madison area still drives down every week.
Hill, whose team is comprised of friends and family members, said the event is a social gathering.
"It's a night you can say you're going to meet them every week. It's not a matter of 'we'll get together' and you never do," Hill said. "This way, you get together every Thursday."
Teams are comprised of two to eight people, who answer four rounds of three questions, with a bonus round of a Jeopardy-style question, where participants may wager their points. Teams can sign up at Bushel and Peck before 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
To answer the trivia question: the first cheese curl was first made by the Flakall Corporation in Beloit in the 1930s. Flakall called their product the Korn Kurl, though consumers likely will have more experience with Frito Lay's product the Cheeto, which was invented about a decade later.