Big brains and booze |

Big brains and booze

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyErik "EZ" Smith of Vail writes down an answer during the inaugural Geeks Who Drink competition at Main Street Grill in Edwards on Wednesday. The competition features eight rounds of trivia, including audio and visual rounds.

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Some people drink to forget, but on Wednesday nights at the Main St. Grill in Edwards, people drink to remember. That’s because Geeks Who Drink now hosts a weekly trivia night in the restaurant and those who remember the answers to random questions may end up drinking for free.

Nine teams gathered to compete at the first Geeks Who Drink competition in Eagle Valley last week with contestants from as far away as Indiana and Wisconsin. The topics ranged from celebrity mullets to movie quotes to pop songs that feature whistling. The competition was fierce but friendly, especially once everybody became familiar with the game after the first few rounds.

“We’re in there after the third round,” said Edwards resident Keith Sirois, who felt his team’s answers in the “The Lord of the Rings” round finally gave them an advantage.

“I would never consider myself a geek, but we’re sitting here drinking,” said his teammate, Megan Wilmoski.

When Geeks Who Drink founder John Dicker moved to Denver in 2004 he sampled some of the trivia nights throughout the city but didn’t like what he saw.

“I was just underwhelmed. I just thought they had no imagination. There was no community, it felt like a kind of cheesy, DJ-driven enterprise,” Dicker said.

Not a big fan of answering all those questions, he decided he liked being on the other end of the trivia experience ” writing and asking the questions. Dicker decided to start his own trivia enterprise, Geeks Who Drink, with his friend Joel Peach.

“I’m not a trivia buff but I like the social element to it,” Dicker said.

The Geeks Who Drink quiz format is based on the traditional Irish pub quiz of eight rounds of eight questions presented by a quizmaster, Dicker said. Participants can play as individuals or as a team, which can greatly increases the odds of winning (depending on how smart your team really is). The questions are presented in a multi-media format, some read allowed, some based on audio clips played by the quizmaster and others on visuals.

“What sets us apart is a lot of the companies do ask a question, play a song, ask a question play a song, which is fun if that’s what you’re into, but we actually try to … (make it) more interactive, more hands on, get people coming back because it’s more personal,” said Matt Angell, quizmaster at the Main St. Grill debut of Geeks Who Drink.

It took a year and a half for Dicker and Peach to tweak the formula but now they operate in over 35 bars throughout Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, though they remain based in Denver. They have a dozen quiz writers and a team of freelance research librarians to do fact checking because “you don’t want to look stupid by being wrong,” Dicker said.

And because it’s more about pride than prizes ” after all, who really cares that you can name the only non-lager beer Coors produces ” bar cash, free drinks and booby prizes are the only things you’ll win besides bragging rights with Geeks Who Drink.

“People play mostly just for the pride of winning,” Dicker said.

Tom Myer of Edwards compared his team’s victory that night to winning the national football championships during his college days at Auburn University.

“It felt that good, yeah,” Myer said.

“It’s a great feeling to be a winner here in the valley as a new comer,” said Myer’s teammate, Tim Jordan, who recently moved to Edwards from Florida.

But what about cheating? Most cell-phones have Internet capability these days. What’s to stop somebody from jumping on and finding the correct answer to every question?

“What I consistently find is that the teams who are cheating are nowhere near the first, second or third place, so it’s somewhat irrelevant. They’re so bad that even cheating doesn’t help them,” Dicker said.

And then there’s that one guy who can’t keep from shouting out the answers, whether they’re right or wrong.

“The whole bar will yell at them and the crowd kind of does that police work for us,” Dicker said, who’s seen the occasional fight break out over just such behavior. “It’s one thing to be yelled at by the quizmaster on the mic but it’s another thing when the whole bar tell you not to shout it out.”

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or

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