Kent Buxton, a third-year student, made his debut on the game show “Jeopardy!” on Monday, March 28. The appearance fulfills a longtime dream for Buxton, who is studying to become an emergency medicine physician.
“I’ve wanted to be on Jeopardy since I was in high school playing quiz bowl at Notre Dame (in Cape Girardeau, MO),” Buxton said.
He finished third in Monday’s contest. Only the winner advances to the next day’s show.
That “Jeopardy!” seed might have been planted much earlier. Buxton’s fun-fact story on the show involves his father accidentally training him to compete by drilling him on the names of the 50 states and their capitals when he was only about 3 years old.
Buxton tried out for the “Jeopardy!” college tournament in 2008, and got an audition in Chicago, but did not make it. Once Buxton was eligible for the adult show, he took his time pursuing “Jeopardy!” again.
“I figured it was better to wait until I was older since many competitors have a lot more life experiences that could help on the show,” Buxton said.
Buxton taught for a several years, and served as a medical scribe in St. Louis hospitals before starting medical school at UMKC. He took the Jeopardy online test this past April, and auditioned June 30 at Crown Center.
“I had to skip one of my classes and write a five-page research paper as a make-up assignment in order to attend, but I was able to walk from school to the audition,” he said. There, he took a written test and played a practice round.
In December, Buxton got the call he had been accepted.
“I was beyond excited,” he said. “I flew to L.A. to tape the show two days before a microbiology exam that I wasn’t totally prepared for.”
Buxton said his heart raced during the taping but he eventually settled down. He joked around with host Alex Trebek: “What was it like being shoved into a phone booth with Shaq?”
“I cannot say how the game turned out, but I had a ton of fun,” Buxton said before the show aired on March 28.
“Jeopardy!” is in its 32nd season in syndication, with 25 million viewers tuning in each week. Contestants participate in three rounds of trivia in which they give their responses in the form of a question. At the end of each show, the winner is named and that person returns in the next episode to defend his or her title as returning champion.