Emma Hill Kepron is a Jeopardy! champion.
The Associate Dean of The University of Winnipeg Library finished Thursday’s Jeopardy! episode with a score of $11,400 – almost double her nearest competitor. All three competitors were unable to answer the Final Jeopardy! question, but due to Hill Kepron’s strategic wager, she was still able to move from second place into first.
“I sort of knew I had won when all the other scores had been revealed, but I didn’t actually believe it until Ken (Jennings) said it out loud,” Hill Kepron recalled. “I had told myself I would be happy with any outcome, but winning was definitely a relief, and I’m glad I didn’t embarrass myself or go viral.”
Tune in to Jeopardy! on Friday evening to see if she can remain champion!
A lifelong fan
Hill Kepron has been a fan of America’s favourite quiz show since she was a teenager.
When she received the call in January from the Jeopardy! team saying she would be competing on the show, she called it a “dream come true.”
“It was pretty surreal,” she said. “I remember very clearly I was standing in my kitchen and I got this phone call from an area code I didn’t recognize. Once I got the news, I just sort of started walking in circles.”
With only a month before taping, Hill Kepron started preparing for her appearance, studying topics like state capitals, the Civil War, and the periodic table of elements – all of which she didn’t need in the end.
I think I was more nervous about everyone seeing this episode air than I was taping it, but it felt great having everyone there rooting for me.
Emma Hill Kepron
She also read up on the best way to hold the buzzer.
“The producers tell you that you should practice with a click pen,” Hill Kepron said. “I felt a bit silly, but I ended up doing that.”
In February, she headed off to Los Angeles for the taping.
After taking a tour of the Alex Trebek Stage at Sony Pictures Studios, she took part in a rehearsal game that prepares contestants for the real thing. Another highlight was meeting host and Jeopardy! super champion Ken Jennings.
“The first time you walk onto stage and you see the set, it’s like, ‘Oh my goodness,’” she recalled. “I’ve just thought about this moment for a very long time.”
Celebrating with family and friends
Yesterday, Hill Kepron celebrated by hosting a watch party with family, friends, and members of her trivia team.
She says it was a relief for the episode to finally air, because it was excruciating not being able to tell everyone how she did.
“There were about 25 people crammed into my tiny living room, sitting on every available surface and the floor,” Hill Kepron said. “I think I was more nervous about everyone seeing this episode air than I was taping it, but it felt great having everyone there rooting for me.”
As Hill Kepron looks back on this experience, she says it’s a moment that she’ll never forget.
“It was just a blast.”
She also encourages anyone who’s into trivia to take the Jeopardy! Anytime Test, because it might be the start of their journey onto the show.