State of the Hogs: Hans Kamm's Razorback Roots Not in Jeopardy

The show has aired so now Hans Kamm can tell his Jeopardy story, including an explanation on how he missed an answer that might be easy for many Razorback fans.

Hans Kamm would like Lance Alworth to know his famous nickname was on the "tip of his tongue" as he missed a chance to add $1,000 to his Jeopardy haul.

When I learned of Kamm's apperearance on the game show last week as a card-carrying Razorback fan, it was a little disappointing to know that all he had to do was recall "Bambi" as Alworth's nickname to provide what could have been the difference in advancing to the next round as champ.

"I did know it, but I didn't think of it until Alex Trebec was reading it," Kamm said. "It was on the tip of my tongue."

You think you would jump on this question if it were you, but it's a little different when you are sitting in front of Alex Trebec with the bright lights making you sweat.

"It happens fast," Kamm told me this week over lunch as he made his first public interview about the trip to TV land.

"When I saw it on the screen, I was actually proud of myself because I knew it. I just couldn't get it out fast enough.

"Really, the entire show seems to take five minutes. It goes really fast.

"Not many know this, but if you hit the buzzer at the same time as someone else, it takes it one fourth of a second to reset. That's the difference a lot of times."

An 8-year veteran at P&G, some call Kamm "the smartest man they know." At least, that was the claim by one member of the Hawgs Illustrated premium message board when it was revealed last week that a Fayetteville man had failed to get Alworth's nickname as Bambi.

Here's the Jeopardy answer: ... the award for least-intimidating nickname goes to: graceful Lance Alworth, aka this animated movie orphan.

The two other contestants buzzed in with wrong ansswers, What is Annie and What is Little Orphan Annie. Kamm was about to buzz when the time elapsed.

Kamm led for much of the show, building his total to $3,400 after 14 clues. At that point, his opposition was at zero and $2,000 in the hole. But the next round's categories were not in his wheel house, especially the TV and movie roles.

The leader was at $11,400 heading into the final clue. Second place was $9,200. Kamm was third with $5,600.

Still, he had a chance if he'd just wagered zero at the end. All three missed the Final Jeopardy clue and although Kamm wagered the least, his $4,199 total lost by $200. That gave him the second prize of $2,000, enough to cover his two plane tickets to Los Angeles. Well, sort of.

Kamm's entire family and several in the extended family went to Los Angeles for when they thought he would compete. Upon arrival came a phone call that Trebec was not able to work because of a knee replacement. Taping would be delayed by a few weeks.

"You pay your own way, your hotel bill," he said. "But they did say they would pay my way and my hotel to come back. So after winning $2,000, it's about a wash."

It might not have paid for everything, but there are no real complaints, even with what the check will be like after California taxes of 7.5 percent, along with income tax.

There is no question that Kamm is a great Razorback fan. A product of Ozark High School, he was on campus at the UA when the Hogs won the 1994 National Championship in basketball.

"I was at Bud Walton Arena watching it on TV with a lot of others," he said. "We'd go crazy for the live look ins with CBS. Then, we all went down on Dickson Street for the party that night."

Hans took oldest daughter Ava, 10, to the Kentucky basketball game last week, her first time to Bud Walton Arena.

"She had not been interested in sports until this year, but she's playing basketball," he said. "So I thought the Kentucky game would be perfect for her first time to go to see the Razorbacks. I had been telling her what it was going to be like, but it wasn't the atmosphere that it could have been. We were just never in the game with them."

Still, it was a wonderful experience. Ava was sharp enough to notice when some began to leave at the six-minute mark. She said, "Dad, real fans stay until the end."

The Kentucky game was a great experience, Ava said. And that's what Hans says about Jeopardy.

It all started with a Jeopardy skit at a company event at P&G where Kamm is Senior Retail Planning Leader. In his eighth year with the company, Kamm is a supply chain analyst. They used to call that logistics engineering. That's a fancy way of saying he keeps Walmart shelves stocked with P&G products.

"The goal is to keep Walmart's inventory at a miminum," he said. "There are details and complexities. You are keeping track of products and one of the keys is knowing what is going on all over the country. Events that happen somewhere else effect everything we do."

Kamm was portraying Sean Connery in the Jeopardy skit.

"It was in the lobby of our office and someone thought I was good at it," he said. "The next thing I knew, someone sent me a link to the on-line test to start the process of going on the show. It's 50 questions."

A few weeks later there was a call to make the trip to Kansas City for an audition, and more tests. A couple of months later there was the call to make the trip to Culver City to be on the show.

"It's all surreal when you go out on the set and the music starts," he said. "I got chills a little bit.

"The show before us, they all finished at zero, one of only five times in the history of Jeopardy that happened."

So there would be no returning champ for Kamm's show. They drew lots to see who would sit in the champions chair and Kamm won.

"That means I got to pick the first category," he said. "I was relieved when I saw NFL Nicknames. I figured I'd be alright. It was a good place to start and I got a couple."

The next thing he knew, it was over.

There were a couple of glitches. Kamm was buzzed as wrong on one correct answer. They paused the show for the judges to review and reversed the decision.

"They do get it right," he said. "They have five judges with all kinds of books and information to check. And they will check."

Trebec got his name wrong throughout.

"He said Hans like hands," Kamm said. "They had gone over that with him at the start. During the first commercial break, he was told by someone and he apologized. He got it right the next time, but not the rest of the time.

"But they are really good. I know he felt badly that I'd come out there the first time and they postponed it. I had a lot of family make that trip, but not the second time. They knew that and Alex apologized to me.

"It was a good experience and I'd encourage everyone. The people are great. It's neat that it's at Sony. It's the same area where Gone With the Wind was filmed. They show you whrere the Yellow Brick Road was, just outside the studio. They were filming the next Ghost Busters movie when we were there."

The tough part was to keep quiet until the show aired. There was an office watch party last week.

"My wife and kids knew where I finished, but no one else," he said. "They were cheering me on right answers and booing the other contestants at the watch party at the office.

"It's tough because you sign an agreement that if you talk about it, or put it on Facebook, you lose your check. I won't get it for a couple of more months."

There are no issues. Kamm has played by the rules. No one at the office pushed him hard to reveal his finish. And no one has been hard on him in the last week about the failure to know Bambi.

"I'm sure I'll hear about it some, but not so much yet," he said. "I've searched the Internet to see if anyone has been on to me. Not much yet."

Perhaps that is still to come. I've suggested a new name for him on the Hawgs Illustrated forum. How about Hans "Bambi" Kamm. Afterall, throughout the process Kamm did display Alworth-like smoothness and grace.


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