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Edmontonian fulfills lifelong dream by competing on Jeopardy

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An Edmonton woman appeared on an episode of Jeopardy Friday night, completing a lifelong dream and getting the chance to compete against a 14-day champion.

Sam Papuha, a political science graduate student at the University of Alberta, has watched the famous quiz game show with her family since she was a child.

"We were always a big game show family," Papuha said. "I used to think it was super cool that you'd have people up there watching Jeopardy who knew all of this stuff and were actually able to answer all the questions."

She would even play against her parents and thought someday it could be her playing in Final Jeopardy.

After watching old episodes during the pandemic, Papuha decided to do an online test to audition for the show.

"I didn't have a whole lot else going on," she added.

Not only did she pass, but continued to get called back for further rounds of timed trivia testing, a personality interview and even a mock-up game.

After a year of wading through the audition process, Papuha got the news she would compete on the show at a taping around Canadian Thanksgiving.

"They put us through a couple rounds of rehearsals on the Jeopardy stage which was really surreal just to be actually standing there," Papuha explained.

The most difficult part wasn't the questions but getting the intricacies of using the buzzer just right, Papuha told CTV News Edmonton.

"So they have these blue lights that show up on the side of the screen after a question is read," she said. "It's really about getting it right when the blue lights light up because if you ring in any earlier, they lock you out of the question, and if you ring in late, another contestant has probably buzzed in before you."

"It's really about trying to get your timing while you are quite nervous," Papuha added.

Papuha was the only Canadian contestant on her episode and wasn't able to buzz in on time for a question about the company sponsoring the CFL's Hamilton Tigercats stadium.

"I've had a couple friends make fun of me on social media: Really, Sam? You didn't know Tim Hortons," she said with a laugh. "I had to explain a couple times, yes, I know Tim Hortons. I knew the answer about the Ticats, I just couldn't ring in, in time."

That didn't stop her from making it to Final Jeopardy. She ended up taking home $2,000 in winnings but still feels like a champion for just making it on the show.

"A lot of us as contestants took on the mentality, well, we made it this far, it's already a pretty big dream to actually be on the show," Papuha said. "So whatever the outcome you could at least say you were on Jeopardy." 

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