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A former Moorhead man competing on 'Jeopardy' this week. Who is Ryan Vesledahl?

Ryan Vesledahl, a Moorhead High School and Concordia College graduate, will appear with Alex Trebek on "Jeopardy" in an episode airing Friday, Oct 12, 2018. Special to The Forum

MOORHEAD — A Moorhead native will be a contestant on one of America's most iconic game shows later this week.

Ryan Vesledahl, a 2010 graduate of Moorhead High School, is appearing in an episode of "Jeopardy" set to air at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, on CBS stations.

"I've been a fan of 'Jeopardy' for as long as I can remember," says Vesledahl, a 2014 graduate of Concordia College who now lives in Minneapolis. "But I really got into the show when I was in high school and would make my parents watch it as we were making or eating supper."

Vesledahl, who works as a catastrophe model analyst for a reinsurance broker — "think hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes" — says he was asked to be on the show after a long process that started with an online timed test of 50 questions. Of the approximately 80,000 people who take it, only 4,000 are asked to have a formal audition at sites around the country.

After auditioning in Atlanta, Vesledahl was one of the estimated 300 that got invited to be on the show.

Vesledahl, who competed in Knowledge Bowl while at Moorhead High, says he was "excited and delirious" when he found out he made the show.

"I've always enjoyed trivia," he says. "I wouldn't call myself a buff, but I had a knack for remembering things. Whenever I got together with some extended family over Christmas, we would usually play some board games that involved trivial knowledge."

Vesledahl says being on the show was surreal.

"The studio was smaller than I expected and there were lights and cameras all over," he says. "I think all of the contestants were a little dazed for the first couple of hours we were there."

He says he was surprised by how quickly the show, and ultimately the day, flies by.

"They tape five shows in a day and really have the process down to a T as there is very little wasted time," he says.

And what did he think of "Jeopardy's" longtime host, Alex Trebek?

"Alex is a nice, if mysterious, host. We don't get to interact with him except for when we are taping the show but he takes questions from the audience during the commercial breaks so we get a peek into his sense of humor, which is pretty dry but can be very funny," he says.

Vesledahl says he's not allowed to tell anyone how he did on the show.

"But I can say it was very competitive and I had a blast," he says.


What: Ryan Vesledahl on "Jeopardy"

When: 5 p.m. Central time Friday, Oct. 12

Station: KXJB-TV (CBS)

Tracy Briggs

Tracy Briggs is a former TV anchor/radio host currently working as a features writer and video host for Forum Communications.

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