Trivia lovers swarm to sign up for bee

Teams of three to vie for trophy, bragging rights
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal Features Editor
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Put your thinking caps on: There’s a trivia bee coming to town, and organizers are looking for teams to put their knowledge to the test.

The Auburn branch of the American Association of University Women hosts the inaugural bee Saturday, March 31, but planning for the event has been under way for months. Organizer Susan Rushton said the ideas for a bee started buzzing after AAUW members learned that several other counties around the state hold trivia bees as fundraisers for various nonprofits.

“There are Friends of the Library in other counties that do this a lot, and apparently it’s a great fundraiser,” Rushton said.

Teams of three will pay $225 to compete against each other in the bee, and several have already signed up. The theme of the kickoff bee is “Foot-hills, Flowers and Fools,” focusing on the history, plants and people of the area. Rather than answering questions one by one, each team will be presented with the same question at the same time, and will confer with each other to answer. The team with the most correct answers at the end of each round moves on. There will be three rounds, with a “sudden death” round if necessary.

Michael Otten, president of the Placer County Historical Society, is on the Trivia Bee committee and has been helping brainstorm answers. It’s a good thing AAUW got to him first, because he said he’s been approached by several competitors eager to partake of his knowledge of the area by having him as a team member.

Otten said the committee has been working on a list of questions about Auburn, Placer County and the greater foothills area.

“We’re working on those we think everybody should know, those that should be a little harder and those that may stump a lot of people,” Otten said.

He advised teams to brush up on not only their Placer County history, but also the plants and colorful characters of the area. He thinks teams will benefit from the collaborative format of the bee, bouncing ideas off each other to find the answer.

For those who don’t compete, there’s still an opportunity to get in on the fun. Those who come to cheer on their favorite team will enjoy an evening of fun competition and a meal from Laura Kenny’s Real Food Catering.

Money raised will go toward AAUW’s scholarships for local young women, benefiting high school graduates, women re-entering college and for Tech Trek, a weeklong science and math class for girls entering eighth grade.

One team, the “Legal Divas,” consists of three women from the Ashford & Strasser Law Firm.

“We thought it would be a great way to get involved,” said attorney and team member Nina Ashford. She joins firm partner Laura Strasser and Shannon Clay to form the Divas. “All of us like trivia, and the trivia is centered around the area where we live. I think we’ll have lots of fun, and some good laughs.”

Rushton said several recognizable names have signed up to form teams, including Mike Holmes, Jim Holmes and Jennifer Montgomery; Auburn Recreation District representatives; and Ben Harwell’s State Farm Insurance. The last team standing wins bragging rights, a perpetual trophy and entry into next year’s Trivia Bee.

“The idea is just to have a great time in an interesting way,” Otten said. “Usually, when you get two or three people together, one will jog the other and there will probably be someone who will have the answer … and if you don’t, you can still have a good time trying to guess.”

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at



Trivia Bee

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, March 31

Where: Regional Park Gym, 3770 Richardson Drive, Auburn

Cost: $225 per three-person team; $25 for guests ($30 at the door)

Register teams: Log onto to download applications and send to AAUW, P.O. Box 7872, Auburn, CA 95604

Tickets: Roper’s Jewelers, 818 Lincoln Way and 2288 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn; Uptown Signs, 1031 High St., Auburn.

Info: (530) 823-2559, (530) 878-8804,,