This Jeopardy contestant has close ties to Kincardine

·3 min read

Answer: Who is Scott Shewfelt?

Some southern Ontario residents were surprised to see a familiar face on the television in early April, when Tavistock native Scott Shewfelt appeared as a contestant on the popular game show, Jeopardy.

Shewfelt has close ties to the Kincardine community. Family members Burton and Marjorie Shewfelt lived near KDSS, and lots of his cousins still make their home here. His high school Reach For The Top coach, Phil Werstine, is also a resident.

Shewfelt said he originally applied for the show back in January of 2020, by writing an online test. He says he had a good friend who had qualified and “I didn’t want it hanging over my head” so decided to give it a try. A fan of Alex Trebek, Shewfelt had heard he was ill and that added to his intention to appear on the show.

He did very well on the first exam, and was contacted for an in-person interview, and another test, by mid-March. Part of the interview procedure included a mock practice-round and on-camera test, to see how he came across on television. He again did well, and received notice that he would be entered in a contestant pool of about 900 people, for the next 18 months. He says he is one of the few “lucky enough to get on the show”.

At about that time, COVID was rampant in California, and the state went into lockdown. Trebek passed away in early November 2020 and the process seemed to come to a standstill.

And then, at the end of January 2021, Shewfelt received a call from Jeopardy asking if he was still interested in appearing and was told he should come in, in 13 days.

The show films five episodes in one day. On Feb. 2, he appeared on and won the fourth and fifth games, in shows guest-hosted by Dr. Oz. His third show taped on Feb. 17 with guest-host Aaron Rodgers, NFL quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Shewfelt finished second during this show, ending his tenure, but not before cracking-wise during the final Jeopardy question. Shewfelt, who didn’t know the answer to which daytime television personality winning a lifetime achievement Emmy award stated: “Just take … 10 seconds to think of the people who helped you become who you are” opted to answer with the question: "Who wanted to kick that field goal?"

The unexpected response had Rodgers smiling, and after nodding his head, responded “That is a great question. It should be correct, but unfortunately for this game today, it's incorrect." The off-the-cuff response has made Shewfelt a hit on social media, with clips of the final Jeopardy question played countless times on social media and various news and sports outlets.

Shewfelt walked away with more than $48,000 in winnings, not a bad payday for three days of work.

He says one of the best outcomes from being on the show was hearing from everyone – old friends and family members that he hasn’t seen in a year or more.

And while he appeared to be relaxed on television, he said the experience was stressful. “It’s a complete blur. On television it seems like the daily double is the most stressful, but you have time to think (of the answer).

Shewfelt has recently finished his first novel, a murder mystery, and lives in Santa Monica, California. He recalls there is nothing like a Kincardine sunset, and remembers the good food at the Erie Belle. His message to family and friends at home is to “stay safe everyone – miss you.”

Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent