Wylie man ends ‘Jeopardy!’ run

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comJuly 15, 2013 

— For all the questions he answered correctly, Ben Ingram still gets an earful about Shelby Mustangs and Kelly Bundy – some of the few he missed.

“Everybody’s human,” said the Lake Wylie resident and eight-time “Jeopardy!” television show champion. “I’m glad I have friends to help me keep my feet on the ground.”

Ingram, 30, racked up eight wins and more than $176,534 on the show before finally giving way to a new champion on Thursday night’s episode. The total ties him for fifth all-time in wins, eighth in earnings.

His phone spent last week “blowing up” with renewed acquaintances. Having filmed the episodes during two spring days, with only 10 minutes to change and begin a new contest, Ingram said it wasn’t until the airings that he truly understood what he’d accomplished.

“I didn’t really realize how quickly my knees were shaking,” Ingram said. “I didn’t really know what I had done.”

If you missed him on television, catch him live at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. That’s when Ingram hosts trivia contests at McHale’s in Tega Cay. Game night started when word spread that he was on the show.

Ingram wasn’t allowed to say how he’d done, making the wait to see the show nearly as nerve-wracking as the filming, he said.

Ingram had wanted to appear on “Jeopardy!” since childhood and prepared for the show by practicing wagering strategy. During the game, he searched for Daily Doubles and went for high-value clues, resulting in his six-figure total.

“When Johnny Gilbert would read my total at the beginning of each show, I thought, ‘Wow, is he sure he’s reading the right number?’” Ingram said. “It didn’t sink in that this was real American money for a few days, and part of me still doesn’t believe it.”

Ingram moved to Lake Wylie in mid-October. He’s spent time in India before that with work. Now he works as an IT consultant in uptown Charlotte. He’s mentioned house and bed shopping as possible uses for his winnings. He’s not sure when the Tournament of Champions might be, but he’d love to be invited.

“I’ll do my best,” Ingram said.

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