Small Talk: Weekly trivia night draws crowd to Peerless
Feb 16, 2014 | 3126 views |  0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of “Team 42” (L to R) Nathan Diffee, Shaun Sexton and Daniel Ponce prepare for a round of questions from trivia master Joe Jankoski (inset) during Wednesday Night Trivia at the Peerless. Submitted photos
Members of “Team 42” (L to R) Nathan Diffee, Shaun Sexton and Daniel Ponce prepare for a round of questions from trivia master Joe Jankoski (inset) during Wednesday Night Trivia at the Peerless. Submitted photos
The Peerless Saloon & Grille might possibly be Anniston’s version of Cheers — a place where everybody knows your name — but on Wednesday nights, the names are a bit different.

“Charlie Foxtrot,” “Over 70” and “Anonymous” are just a few of the titles adopted by various groups that show up each week to play trivia.

The weekly games started a year ago when Joe Jankoski approached Peerless owner Kristy Farmer with the idea of a weekly match.

“Kristy asked who could oversee it,” Jankoski said. “I knew I was reasonably good at answering trivia questions, so I volunteered to give it a try.“

At the time, Jankoski was the executive director of the Calhoun County Community Development Corporation. Last summer he took a new job as the community chapter executive for the local American Red Cross office. He serves on the Board of Directors of Leadership Calhoun County and is president-elect of Anniston Morning Rotary. Despite an active community life, Jankoski still manages to put together a two-hour weekly trivia game that is attracting more and more players.

“We’ve put tables and chairs in every possible place,” Farmer said. “But we’ll always find room for more.”

Jamie Lackey has waited tables for the trivia players since the game began and agrees with her boss. “There’s a lot more traffic than there was in the beginning,” she said. “It makes taking orders and getting food out more of a challenge, but once we find our rhythm, it’s all good.”

The game is played on the top floor of the restaurant, which means Lackey and her sister, fellow waitress Kira Tidmore, find themselves running up and down the staircase all night.

“It’s hectic work,” Lackey said. “But I love Wednesday nights because I love trivia.”

Useless information, she calls it. “And the players are somewhat nerdy,” she said with a laugh. “They’re my kind of people.”

“We are nerdier than average,” admits Nathan Diffee, a member of Team 42. According to the popular book and film, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” 42 is the “ultimate answer to any question about life, the universe and everything.”

Members of 42 are so committed to the game, they had T-shirts printed bearing their team name and they still marvel over the night they finished a game with exactly 42 points.

Another team, We Moustache You a Question, consists of Donna and Jared Ross, Jeanie Hargrove, Thomas Downing, Chris O’Rear and Alex Bonne. These competitors didn’t know each other until they began attending the weekly games. They have since become good friends and socialize outside the game as well.

All of the trivia questions spring from the mind of Jankoski, who claims a whole new respect for the writers of “Jeopardy.”

“I look at everything differently now,” he said. “To see if I can compose a question in the things I hear, see or read.”

At social gatherings, people will try to stump him with their own obscure questions — “as if I have the Encylopedia Britannica in my head,” Jankoski said.

Twice during the year, teams have competed in a tournament, sponsored by Peerless regular Gerwin Wallace, to win the coveted Silverton Cup. During one of those tournaments, Team Asylum formed and they have been participating ever since.

Team Asylum consists of Mary Coyle, Marc and Tammy Jones and Beth Cavender as well as Kim Wigley and her husband Charles.

“I enjoy playing with friends to test my memory and knowledge,” Wigley said. “Plus Wednesday nights are a nice middle of the week break.”


The Yellowhammer Filmmakers of Northeast Alabama will present the premieres of “Damaged” and “Missed Connection” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at the McClellan Park Medical Mall Business Center. They will also screen short videos entered into Anniston’s City of Storytellers competition.
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