Veterans Rally For Trivia


Gary Kirkendale reads a question at one of the motor rally stops. Photo by Audrey Nissen

Motor rally rolls through downtown Salt Lake City

Motor rally? It sounds like it should be some kind of a NASCAR race, but in this case it refers to a trivia game that’s part of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, co-sponsored by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans in motorized scooters and wheelchairs lined up for the event that took off from the Salt Palace Convention Center Thursday night.

The event encompassed several blocks of downtown Salt Lake City, where competitors, each with the help of a volunteer guide, traveled to 10 spots marked on a map to answer trivia about Utah’s culture and history. Volunteers and handlers were not allowed to give hints, and no electronic devices or other media could be used to obtain the answers.


The Start Line for the 2016 NVWG Motor Rally. Photo by Audrey Nissen

In addition to answering a question and possibly a bonus question at each of the stops, veterans select a playing card from a deck of cards at five of the stops. Each participant receives five points for each correct answer and a maximum of 10 points for the poker hand, with a royal flush being 10 points.

PVA Keystone Chapter member and Army veteran Gary Kirkendale, accompanied by his wife, Susan, was one participant. He said he started studying for the rally Thursday morning. He said sometimes even the local volunteers don’t know the answers to the questions, so no one really has an unfair advantage, even if he or she lives in the state where the Games take place.

“My daughter quizzed me this morning,” he said.

Susan said they also went on two city tours, and the tour guide quizzed Gary on local history.

Kirkendale has competed in six Games, each time entering the motor rally, and said the easiest question was one of the bonus questions: “The lake in Salt Lake City is high in what content?” The answer: salt.

“That bonus was almost free!” he said.

Other questions were multiple choice, such as matching up Utah sports teams to their mascots, where the Pony Express stopped in Salt Lake City, how many years it took to build the Mormon Temple — bonus points if you knew out of what material it was made — and the name of the Dale Chihuly sculpture in Abravanel Concert Hall.

Kirkendale didn’t seem sure of some of the answers he gave, but he wouldn’t let that bother him.

“Once I’m done with a question, I don’t care anymore,” he said. “I’m good at guessing.”

Kirkendale, who was decked out in his lucky Games hat, also competed in bowling (ramp hand controls) earlier this week, earning a gold medal.

“I don’t do anything unless I get the big money,” he said, joking. “[I bowled] close to my average, but I didn’t do as well as I would have liked.”

As far as the rally goes, Kirkendale said he just had fun. His poker hand yielded a pair of jacks, and he answered enough questions correctly to win a gold medal. 

 

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