Wacky Tournament Stories

Over the years, Texas Quiz Bowl has hosted more than 100 tournaments across the state (and nation). The vast majority of those events were routine. Every now and then, however, something exciting or unexpected happens. Here are a few amusing anecdotes from some of the more unusual incidents.

Kitchen Fires & Evacuations (May 03, 2013)
In May 2013 Texas Quiz Bowl held its 14th annual championship at the Village School in Houston. The Village School is a boarding school for international students; its cafeteria is on the first floor of the building in which the tournament was being held. During round 8 of the 13 round event, a kitchen fire caused a fire alarm and forced an evacuation of the entire building for about 30 minutes. The tournament resumed afterwards and St. John’s defeated Cistercian in the final.

The Elevator Incident (December 03, 2011)
Thirty-two teams participated in the fourth HoHoHo that was held in the Quadrangle at St. John’s in 2011. That afternoon I sent a crew of five St. John’s students back to the Mewbourne building to return buzzers sets and cases of soda to the third floor math office. The crew became stuck in the malfunctioning elevator. Almost two hours later, local firemen came to the school to rescue the quintet as the tournament wound down and Seven Lakes and Cistercian marched to the finals in rooms on the other side of the school. While they were trapped in the elevator, the senior member of the crew took the photo below.


Appendicitis (October 16, 2010) 
TQBA hosted an HSAPQ event at Shepton in Plano in October 2010. During an afternoon round game, one of the players started experiencing strong gastrointestinal discomfort. We were lucky in that a mother of a student from the opposing team was a doctor. I was called as the student was brought outside. The student was given a basic exam outside the room (as he lay on the ground in the hall) and was brought to a local emergency room for suspected appendicitis. The student did not have appendicitis; it was suspected that a Chipotle burrito for lunch had something to do with the issue.

The HoHoHo that didn’t happen (December 05, 2009)
Houston doesn’t often experience ice storms. In December 5, 2009 Texas Quiz Bowl was scheduled to host its annual HoHoHo event at Lamar Consolidated High School. A number of teams were signed up until inclement weather forced school districts to close and TQBA to cancel. HoHoHo has become one of TQBA’s cornerstone events; 2009 is the only year since 2007 in which an edition of HoHoHo was not held.

Noah’s Ark of Quiz Bowl (December 08, 2007)
Undoubtedly the TQBA’s most inspired tournament name is the Houston Holiday Hoedown (HoHoHo). The first ever HoHoHo was held at Seven Lakes in December 2007. That day 20 varsity teams and 10 junior varsity teams competed in Katy. One school had entered one team in each division. During the preliminary rounds, it was brought to the attention of the staff room that there were players on the school’s JV team who were not on its pre-tournament roster. During varsity byes, players from that team were “helping” their JV teammates. When explained that cross-division playing was inappropriate, the school’s coach suggested that he had two Kenny’s even though they second “Kenny” had not been declared on the roster. The joke from that day was that the school was the proverbial Noah’s ark of quiz bowl; they had two players of every name.

No Lights, No Problem (October 22, 2005)
In the fall of 2005 TQBA held its first Quiz Bowl event held at Seven Lakes high school in Katy. The event was held in what is now the freshmen center of the high school. Back then, the school was in its first year and its facilities were too expansive for its population. Texas Quiz Bowl was the first group to make use its of its freshmen classrooms. Those classrooms were not in regular use at that point. That afternoon an accident near the school caused a power outage. We finished the tournament’s last two rounds without power (and without buzzers).

Pre-School Sunday School hosts Quiz Bowl (March 16, 2002)
In 2002 Texas Quiz Bowl was in its legacy period; the group that would become Texas Quiz Bowl was still the Texas A&M Quiz Bowl program. Two years earlier the group had hosted the first NAQT Texas State Championship; that tradition would morph into the modern Texas Quiz Bowl Championship. That year we hosted the first NAQT State events in Louisiana and Arkansas. On March 9, 2002 we hosted at Jesuit High School in New Orleans. For our March 16, 2002 Arkansas event we could not find a secondary school to host. Instead we arranged to host in the West Bauxite Missionary Baptist church Sunday school building. The final match was held in the biggest room which is typically the kindergarten room. Some of the smaller spectators made use of the miniature sized furniture in the room as they watched the final.

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