The King of Trivia Retires
They say that imitation is the ultimate form of flattery, and when it comes to trivia nights at local watering holes, the King is Perry Avinou.
For over five years now Perry has stumped many of the finest minds in the city with some of the quirkiest facts known to modern man. In fact, Perry's ability to stump and entertain has not only made him a popular attraction at Bobby's Place, but it has also inspired other drinking establishments to try to emulate his success. Although many local establishments have started their own trivia nights, to entertain and to bring in crowds, none has managed to match Perry's success, and many have given up after unsuccessful runs.
After a successful run, the King of Trivia Night, has decided to retire while still at the top of his game.
"After five years it is time to pass the torch to new blood," Perry said "I live so far away and I want to concentrate on my farm (near Chaplin). Doing chores at midnight or later sucks."
Being Bobby's quiz master extraordinaire has only been a part-time gig for Perry. For most of the time he was stumping Bobby's Place clientelle Perry was also a member of the Canadian military. Perry served 26 years in the Canadian military and has received 7 medals for his service.
To make up the 10,660 questions he has asked over the years - 260 weeks multiplied by 40 questions plus a tie breaker - he would spend about 8 hours over the week researching.
Perry's questions would range from ones like "what's on the sign as you enter Saskatchewan from Alberta on the Trans Canada Highway?" - Saskatchewan Naturally - to "what is the study of insects called?" - entemology.
Perry learnt the trivia trade from Tim Stackhouse, who did it for 7 years until being redeployed by the military.
"I used to be a regular player, with a team from the base. I took it over when Kevin and Monica (Haakenson - Bobby's Place owners) were going to Scotland. I asked who was doing it? They said I could if I wanted and so I took it over for a five year run."
Perry recognized that his duty to Kevin and Monica (Bobby's Place owners) and his avowal to never let them down was similar to what he strived for during his career in the military: dependability.
"You get into a routine, it's fun and you're dependable. It is like they say in the military, more duty- more honour." That sense of honour and duty allowed Perry to never let Bobby's Place down.
When his father passed away on December 28, 2016 Perry came in and worked trivia as usual.
"It was really hard to do, I never joked like I usually do but I never told anyone my dad had passed away, I wasn't going to let anybody down," Perry said. He would only tell people about his father's passing the next day. Perry's most memorable trivia night was when his dad came down to watch. His best memory is the photo taken that night with his dad and his son. It is the only picture he has of the three of them together as Perry's dad passed away a couple of month's later.
"Someone said to take a picture, so we did and dad passed away about two months later, " Perry said, adding as he was choking up, "I will never forget that night."
Passing the torch on the anniversary of his father's passing felt appropriate, he said.
Originality and hard research were the keys to his success.
"Regular teams at Bobby's play at other locations in Moose Jaw, they have a trivia circuit, so you have to be original and be good to succeed."
Perry says his research taught him many things, that he didn't know before. Though he admitted his knowledge is still clearly not as strong as Jeopardy champions.
Perry had a formula for detecting cheats. He would insert obscure questions.
"If you put in something obscure and they get it you know they are using a performance enhancing substance - a cell phone," Perry, followed by his memorable laugh.
Perry said that in the five years of hosting trivia, he only had to disqualify two teams for cheating, and they were not Bobby's Place regulars. Regular teams played with honour, except maybe that honour didn't always extend to some of the randy team names they used, Perry said.
He also claims he had the opportunity once to move from Bobby's Place to a bigger venue when the marketing manager for Casino Regina stopped in to play one night and said she loved it and wanted him to do it regularly at the 300 seat show lounge.
"I have loyalty to Kevin and Monica for letting me run trivia here. Plus moving from 60 - 80 regulars to 300 strangers just wouldn't work," he said.
There was someone from Winnipeg who would stop in to play who ran trivia nights there and he always wrote down questions to ask at his events.
Although Perry has never attended trivia in other Moose Jaw pubs, he had noticed what he suspected to be competitors watching as they were writing everything down.
Perry said he will miss being the trivia master, but looking after his 20 acre hobby farm was his first priority. Plus getting home late and only getting six hours of sleep when he had turn around the next day to pick up his daughter in Moose Jaw was more tiresome as he got older.
"I have a lot of respect for Kevin and Monica for giving me the opportunity to do it for so long," Perry said.
Perry never ruled out a special guest appearance as the trivia master in the Spring, but said it would be just to fill in and nothing regular.