SHERIDAN — Patrick Geary was propelled to local notoriety when it became public that he was selected as a contestant on the popular syndicated game show, Jeopardy! Geary was the winner the first round he participated in.
Following his experience on the famous syndicated game show, Geary was contacted by Senior Center staff member Nancy McKenzie who wanted to commend Geary for representing Wyoming on the show.
“At first I thought to send him a congratulatory note, then a congratulatory note signed by everyone at the Senior Center, then including a note with an invitation to lunch at the Center,” McKenzie said. “Eventually the idea of us hosting our version of Jeopardy at the Senior Center with Patrick evolved.”
“I was very surprised,” Geary said. He had been interviewed by The Sheridan Press, KOTA television and Sheridan Media prior to his competition airing on NBC. “I didn’t expect to be invited to any public speaking after the show. This was entirely out of the blue.”
“He was very gracious and found the idea intriguing,” McKenzie said.
“It was kind of different. The way I figure it, if anybody is interested in listening to me, I’m more than willing to show up,” Geary said.
Members of the Center’s staff organized a Jeopardy game to be performed before a live audience: diners at the Senior Center Dining Room. Staff member Barb Blue — who later played the role of Jeopardy game host, Alex Trebek — set up five categories and five questions in each following the format of the show.
The categories were geography, presidents, Wyoming, what show were they on? and literature.
“My vision was to design the game around categories that Patrick really knew,” staff member and event co-organizer Jane Perkins said.
Prior to the competition, staff member Lois Bell interviewed Geary in a talk-show format.
“It was great to have the audience there (at the Senior Center),” Geary said. “It was actually a larger audience in the Senior Center dining room than it was in the Jeopardy studio. It surprised me how small and intimate the actual Jeopardy audience is.”
“I paid more attention to the audience at the Senior Center than I did on Jeopardy. The Senior Center audience was more relaxed and I was able to take in the audience’s reactions,” Geary said.
Following the competition, several guests lined up to speak with Geary.
Arlene Herrboldt came for the competition after hearing that the Senior Center was hosting a game with the local celebrity.
“It was very, very interesting,” Herrboldt said of the event. Herrboldt visited with Geary following the mock show.
“I just wanted to meet him. I told him that I saw him on television and how proud we all are of him,” Herrboldt said.
“I’ve been getting that reaction a lot from people I meet,” Geary said. “I’m humbled by it. It was an individual experience as none of my family could go with me. I didn’t have the feeling of community while I was doing it but it’s cool to see that connection with people here who were rooting for me. It makes me feel less of an individual thing I did myself and more of a community thing.”
What is post-Jeopardy life like for Geary?
“I’m working at UPS in the mornings, and took an online psychology class this summer through Sheridan College. I’ve also refereed soccer through the YMCA this spring and summer,” Geary said.
The Center’s onsite game was held on the stage in front of approximately 120 diners in the Center’s dining room at Smith Street.
Geary will receive his winnings check from the actual Jeopardy program this November. The contest rules do not allow competitors to return to the show. At this time, there are no other game shows on Geary’s list of things to do.
However, Trebek is scheduled to retire in 2016.