Dave Shireley and Edgar Oliveira were in the locker room after a game of tennis this past summer and "Jeopardy" was on the TV. Shireley said he rattled off a few of the answers absentmindedly, taking Oliveira by surprise.
The pair started talking about trivia and that day would lead to a new trivia night being started in Mandan this month at the German bier hall Oliveira is opening in the former train depot.
“I think of things I’d like to do personally,” said Oliveira of deciding on entertainment options for his new venue.
For at least the next six weeks, trivia by Minneapolis-based Trivia Mafia will be held at 8 p.m. at the bier hall. Teams, with a maximum of six people per team, can compete. Prizes will be given to the top three teams.
“I think it’s important to have social activities people can get out and do,” Oliveira said.
And historically, German bier halls have been communal environments, so team trivia fits that theme.
“I think there’s a niche to be filled,” said Shireley, who has agreed to be trivia host.
Each week of trivia will have a different theme. Rounds will include regular trivia questions, image matching and sound matching covering a variety of subjects, from current events to pop culture. The rounds take about 10 minutes and the whole event lasts about an hour and a half, Shireley said.
In the first week, trivia-goers answered which agency Brenda Fitzgerald resigned from — she was head of the Centers for Disease Control — and listed first names of famous Russian novelists — Dostoyevsky’s first name was Fyodor and Tolstoy’s first name was Leo. There were also stills from movies that featured time loops that participants had to identify, as well as a Super Bowl-themed round titled “Touchdown,” featuring songs with the word "touch" in the title.
The trivia night also has a North Dakota connection. One of the co-founders of Trivia Mafia is from Fargo.
Chuck Terhark moved to Minneapolis from Fargo for school. Moving into a new neighborhood 11 years ago, he started looking for things to do. He’d played bar trivia previously and wished for a place to do so again when he was introduced to his now business partner.
The pair’s trivia business became one of the first in the Twin Cities.
“I make the trivia night I want to play,” said Terhark, who serves as editor of each week's trivia content.
Terhark said he doesn't want people to feel intimidated by his games but wants to challenge them in just the right way. Even if people don't win they'll still have a good time, he said.
Trivia Mafia has 110 locations, mostly in the Twin Cities. A couple years ago, it expanded to North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and now has a location in Chicago.