Mind Challenge champs looking to repeat title in 2022

by Dan Holland

After edging out Willoughby Hills to claim the title of Mind Challenge trivia champions of Northeast Ohio in 2021, The team representing Broadview Heights, in coordination with the city’s Human Services & Senior Center, is looking to reclaim the title once again in 2022.

Mind Challenge for the New Majority co-founders Art Greenberg and Phil Levine organized the first competition in 2019, which pairs seniors against teams from other cities around Northeast Ohio to compete for a total of $5,500 in cash prizes for their respective cities. The Broadview Heights team donated its $2,500 first-place winnings from last year’s tournament to Yuletide Hunger. The team, which has a number of repeat players, finished second in 2020.

Teams from Broadview Heights and Brecksville both held their first practice round and received their Mind Challenge T-shirts on May 12. Broadview Heights is entering its fourth season while Brecksville is sporting its first-ever team this year.

“It’s really designed to stimulate the mind with the questions and to engage in socialization with other seniors,” said Greenberg.

This year’s competition boasts a record 51 cities with a total of 90 teams consisting of 520 participants. Cities are grouped into five regions: Central, East, Southeast, Southwest and West. The competition is modeled after the NCAA basketball tournament bracket with teams facing elimination or advancement each week. Cities can host as many teams as they like in the tournament.

The competition began with the Knockout rounds May 23 – 27, which was followed by the Smart 16 on May 31 – June 3. Additional rounds include The Elevated 8, Fact-Finding 4 and the championship round to be held June 15 at the Solon Senior Center.

The championship event will be conducted by Lana Oriani of Get Lucky Trivia. Cleveland radio personality Larry Morrow is the scheduled keynote speaker.

“It’s intense and fun at the same time,” said Richard Biasella, who is participating in his fourth season with the Broadview Heights team. “It’s a once-a-year type thing, so it’s something we all look forward to.”

During the individual rounds, teams have 90 seconds to come up with an answer. Teams can wager a certain number of points based on the team members’ confidence in the subject category. The competition consists of several rounds with six players allowed to actively participate within a round.

“The questions are very difficult – it’s not your everyday simple trivia,” explained Broadview Heights Human Services Director Kathy Rush-Parsson. “It’s a great opportunity for seniors to exercise their brain. It’s also nice because it’s a team endeavor. We don’t do many team events at our senior center, so I think this is a great opportunity for them to work together and also to spend some time with people that they maybe wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to spend time with.”

“I like all the camaraderie with our team and trying our wits against other seniors,” said Judy Zamaria of the Brecksville team during a Smart 16 event held at Middleburg Heights Municipal Park. “I learn a lot, and it helps keep me young. I’m glad I signed up for this, and I’ve met a lot of nice people.”

Zamaria’s teammate, Peg Prerost, said she enjoys the thrill of competition.

“My friends and I play regularly as a team and we really enjoy the competition and the fact that we can do some good for Brecksville should we do well,” said Prerost. “That makes it all worthwhile.”

“Everyone really enjoys it, and they have a great time,” said Greenberg. “It’s not necessarily about winning, because not everyone can win. It’s about the enjoyment of playing and having fun and being with other people.”