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WKU Alumnus to appear on Jeopardy!

Leigh Hoopes

It is not every day that someone gets to realize that one of their dreams has come true. This statement cannot be said about Western Kentucky Alumnus, Leigh Hoopes. Leigh will fulfill one of her lifelong goals on July 26, 2013. That is when she will compete as a contestant on one of the longest running game shows in America, Jeopardy!.
Leigh graduated from WKU in 2006 with a B.A. in Print Advertising and a double minor in Graphic Design and Creative Writing. After graduating from WKU in search of the right job for her, Mrs. Hoopes moved from one place to another. She finally found a resting place, settling into a newly bought home located in Northern Kentucky with her husband Ian.

In April of this year, Leigh flew out to Los Angeles to film the show. According to her, they film “five shows (a whole week) on Mondays and Tuesdays.” Fun Fact: The day that she was set to tape was actually the very last day for the taping of the 29th season of the current version of Jeopardy!. Leigh’s mother flew out with her and her grandmother paid for her ticket. This was an extra special moment for Leigh because when she was a child, during summers and weekends Leigh would spend a lot of time with her grandmother at her home in Owen County. After they were done washing up after supper, Leigh and her grandmother would sit together watching and playing along with the show. At the studios in Los Angeles, Leigh said that she was very nervous “all day long and basically the entire week”, but that the other contestants though they were “insanely smart” were also “incredibly sweet.” Leigh also remarked on the interesting behind the scenes aspect of the tryout, “We were all rooting for each other during each show, trying not to shout out the answers like you do at home, and practicing our buzzer thumbs.”
I asked Leigh if she had any insight that she would like to share for anyone who might be interested in doing something like trying out for a game show like Jeopardy!. Her first tip is to first see if they have an online test and register for the show that way. According to Leigh and her experience with Jeopardy!, there are a couple of steps you have to complete after you take the online test. First you must actually pass the online test. This might be the most difficult part because in Leigh’s experience, Jeopardy! does not tell you how you did on any of the tests. There is no way to actually study for these tests, so it is good to be prepared with a broad spectrum of knowledge that covers almost any topic you could imagine. Next you have to go in-person to be interviewed and to take a written test. Do not be discouraged if you do not make it the first time. Leigh said that it took her, “several years of taking the test online to finally get through to the next round” which would have been the interview face to face test portion. Her last bit of advice for anyone who might have the same dream she did is to not give up. “So if you don’t get invited to the in-person test, just sign up again for the online test and keep trying!”
Before I ended the interview, I of course had to ask this future Jeopardy! Contestant (and hopefully winner) some very important questions:
1.    My son wants to know: When you are on the show will you write your name in cursive or regular letters?
Cursive! I am a big stickler and write almost exclusively in cursive anyway. I also just like the way my name looks when I write it out that way. I had to write it three times on the display though because the first two times, the producers said they couldn’t read it.
2.    What is the first thing (or any ideas of something) you’re going to buy if you win a good amount of money?
Since we just bought a house, I would really like to buy a new car. I’ve been driving around the same old 2000 Nissan Altima since I was 16 years old. The speakers and CD player don’t work, the sunroof and A/C buttons get stuck. It was flooded in the Pierce Ford Tower parking lot at WKU, rear-ended, side-swiped, t-boned, the side mirror is held on with Gorilla Glue, and the bumper is attached with zip-ties. Yet it keeps on going. A new-ish car would definitely be on my list. That and a trip to Europe or Canada with my husband Ian.

 Story by Kelly Hussung, Beech Tree News  



Congrats! What a huge accomplishment.

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