*I, Charles Lindsay, along with Tex Poston and Brant Callaway, were unable to attend the Independence Day Spectacular out of fear that they would make me quiz and embarrass ourselves, so we chickened out and wanted Matt West to write an article.

I, Matt West, was asked to write an article about the Independence Day Spectacular by my acquaintance Charles Lindsay (who goes by George, but that is another story). Because I had my first son, Jacob, on the day of the event, I remember very little about anything else, Therefore, I got my teammate’s normal coach and my good friend, Breanna Richardson, whose team did better than ours (we’ll get you next year, Breanna), so she was around longer and almost certainly remembers better, to write the article. Hereafter is her account.

Independence Day Spectacular—What It is:
This tournament is a favorite of dedicated quizzers and those who can’t quiz in any normal tournaments. This tournament offers motivation to memorize over the summer, provides a tournament where anyone can quiz, and is the only AACS-style tournament during the summer. This tournament is not only available to the ordinary quizzer but also to anyone of any age. Each team consists of exactly two team members. A person out of high school can quiz with someone high school age or younger, two recent high school graduates can quiz together, or younger students can quiz with someone of any age. This provides a good time of quizzing for everybody! Those who are now interested, get your parents, coaches, quizmasters, league directors, and others to start working on Matthew 1-3 (for next year’s event), so we current quizzers can test ourselves against some of the people from yesteryear.

Due to the fact that each team only has two members, the rules are vastly different from any other tournament. Instead of the usual twenty questions per quiz there are only fifteen questions in a three team quiz. There are no tossups in this tournament. Each time a question is answered incorrectly 10 points are deducted and the next question is asked, which all three teams are eligible to answer. This means only 15 questions total will be asked in each quiz. In the event of a tie, a tie breaker question will not be asked in the Round Robin, the quiz will end with two teams tied. There are no “jumping” fouls. If a situation should arise where an “attitude” foul would normally be issued, the offending team would sit out the next question. Points are kept much the same way, except all errors are minus 10 points, so there is no grace period for three errors. The rule that I dislike the most is to “quiz out” a quizzer can get any combination of four answers, whether right or wrong. This is a wonderful rule except for quizzers (like me) who are prone to errors. Errors in this tournament cost dearly, a team loses ten points, plus it uses one of the quizzer’s precious four answers. That, in my opinion, is this tournament’s greatest downfall.

Independence Day Spectacular—Who There Was:
Because of vacation, mix-up of dates, and various other reasons only six teams were able to make it to Orlando to quiz. There were at least six more that had planned to come but could not make it. Some prominent teams that had planned on being there but could not were Paul and Rachel Austin (of the Austin Family), Matthew and Tiffany Jordan (Quizmaster and TMA alumnus along with her new husband), Elizabeth & John Webster (FBCCF), Jesse Startup & Heather Rigsby (Recent TMA Alumni), Jesse O’Dell & Caitlyn Thompson (The Master’s Academy), Alex & Grace D’Amico (Open Door), and Biblequizzer.net’s very own Brant Callaway & David Poston.

Emily Barlett & Nathan Tindel competed under the name Taco Bell Especial. Emily quizzed in the RAMS league in Orlando this past year, while Nathan helped Jesse Startup coach. They seemed to have been most harmed by the no Tossups and free questions. Defending Champions Annabelle & Abigail Carbonell quizzed together under the name Precious Stones. They quizzed very well all day, and were the highest seeded team after the Round Robin. Matt West, after two years of begging, finally found a partner to quiz with in this event. His teammate Mark Jones quizzed on the FBCCF elementary team last year, and they chose the appropriate name for their situation, Bicycle Wreck. We finally got to see just how good Matt could be, as he’s been all talk for the past 4-5 years. Still Thinking consisted of Praiselynn Santos and Paige Warren (FBCCF). Praiselynn unfortunately memorized II Corinthians 1-3, but it wasn’t until just a few days before did she realize it was over I Corinthians 1-3. The next team, Half of the original white team, was supposed to be Jeremy Heuslein (The Master’s Academy) and Jordan Bond (TMA alumnus), but Jeremy found himself quizzing alone for reasons we still don’t know. He recruited Debbie Warren, coach of FBCCF, to sit in the chair next to him, so he was still eligible to compete. And my team was the Gold with Cassy Fleming (former Master’s Academy quizzer) and Breanna Richardson (FBCCF—this is me).

Independence Day Spectacular—What Happened:
The quiz pads that were used in this event, were unlike any pads that I have used before, but they were perfect for a tournament where only two people were on a team. These were QuizEquipment.com’s Pocket Quizzer with individual clone pads, which allowed you to plug in only the needed two pads for each team. These like the PQA lights need to be reset after every question, which can be an inconvenience to the quizmasters. The quizmasters were Marcus Menneaga and Lynn Warren, who did a wonderful job all day.

The Round Robin consisted of nine three team quizzes. At the end of the Round robin Precious Stones was seeded first, then Gold, Bicycle Wreck, Still Thinking, Half of the Original White Team, and Taco Bell Especial.

After lunch from Wendy’s, the double elimination rounds began. Within the first two rounds Half the Original White team and Taco Bell Especial were eliminated. Once down to four teams Still Thinking got their first loss early on, but stayed in long enough to give Gold a loss. Once Still Thinking got their second loss, it was the three remaining teams quizzed until one was eliminated. This only took two quizzes. In both of these quizzes, Gold dominated with over 100 points (trust me, that is a great score with three good teams) and Precious Stones and Bicycle Wreck fought it out for the middle. In both quizzes, Abigail Carbonell and Matt West were quizzed out and it came to a tiebreaker question. Precious Stones was able to hang onto a middle in both quizzes to give Bicycle Wreck two consecutive losses and give them a third place finish.

It was down to the Final Two of Precious Stones with no losses and Gold with one loss. In this tournament, like most others the rules change with two team quizzing. In a two team quiz, there are only 9 questions as opposed to 15. With only 9 questions and no middle win on which to fall back, a good start is essential. Gold took some early errors giving Precious Stones the high win and making them the Champions of this event. Abigail and Annabelle have won this event both years in which it existed. Cassy Fleming has been on the second place team both times. Other than the symmetry at the top, none of the other teams have been the same. Everyone that returned (other than the champions) came with a new teammate to try and win a championship. We can only imagine what might happen next year, if all teams that intend to come, actually show up. Overall, despite my distaste for the rules, the event was a lot of fun, and I hope many more teams from all over join us next year.

Statistically, Matt West, Abigail Carbonell, Breanna Richardson, Jeremy Heuslein, and Cassy Fleming were the top five quizzers. The Andy Gropp Quizzer of the Day Award, which like most awards Matt West and the FQA give out are left to guesswork over the criteria, went to Jeremy Heuslein.

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