CALUMET - After six rounds answering local history questions, "Parker's Pirates," a team made up of Ontonagon High School students left the eighth annual High School Local History Smackdown with the championship trophy.
The students were the last standing on the stage at the Calumet Theatre Thursday evening at the Smackdown, hosted by the Keweenaw National Historical Park, while earlier in the evening, teams were eliminated one by one for answering two questions incorrectly.
In the first few rounds, teams from different schools took turns answering questions by fifth-year quizmaster Mark Wilcox ranging from "How did Douglass Houghton die?" to "(What) town was named after a signer of the Declaration of Independence?"
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Ontonagon students Margaret Domitrovich, Alex Dix, Morgan Pollard and Lacey Johnson, from the team “Parker’s Pirates,” hold the trophy for winning the eighth annual High School Local History Smackdown at the Calumet Theatre Thursday evening, presented by Jim Corless.
Throughout the competition, the questions grew harder, such as "This Copper Country landmark was built in 1944," and "This is the building where miners changed their clothing before and after shifts."
The 10 different teams took the stage and introduced themselves while giving explanations about their team names.
"We're just a group of kids who came here to bring down the competition and win it all," said Kevin Maskill from "The Youngsters - Beware."
Ontonagon students Lacey Johnson from "Parker's Pirates" and April Sorenson from the "Diamond Match Devils" were socializing at the Calumet Theatre just before climbing onstage for the competition.
"We studied well," Sorenson said. "We would just quiz each other constantly."
Johnson said the two teams from Ontonagon have been studying and learning about local history for quite some time.
"We've been studying for about a month," Johnson said.
And it must have paid off because "Parker's Pirates," coached by Bruce Johanson, walked away with first place while the "Diamond Match Devils," coached by Dick Franti, walked away with fifth place. "Forever the Coolest Kid$," from Baraga High School and coached by Jill Lundgren, came in second place while "B.R.I.D.G.E. Kids," from B.R.I.D.G.E. Alternative High School coached by Yasmine Lennon, came in third place.
Dollar Bay High School students Dallas Bond and Robb Streiter, from "The Clarksters," coached by Karen Helminen, received seventh place. Before the match, Bond said the team had prepared with numerous hours of studying and by reading local books.
"We started a couple of months ago," Bond said.
"At least two months," Streiter quickly added.
Bond said the part he was most nervous about were the random questions that could be asked.
"You don't know what they're going to be," he said.
"The Untouchables," from B.R.I.D.G.E. Alternative High School and coached by Cathy Hill, came in fourth place while the "Pot Belly Pigs" from Baraga High School and also coached by Lundgren, came in sixth place.
"The Youngsters - Beware," from Baraga High School and coached by Michele Serafin, came in eighth place followed by "The Big Louies," from Baraga High School and coached by Serafin, and the "Bulldogs," from Hancock Central High School and coached by Sue Zubiena.
Judges were Mark Rowe from the Keweenaw County Historical Society, Scott See from the Michigan Technological University social sciences department and Jo Urion of the Keweenaw County Historical Park.
Jim Corless, superintendent of KNHP, thanked Wilcox for being quizmaster five years running, thanked the sponsors who helped make the Smackdown possible and thanked the students for "picking up the history torch and carrying it to the next generation" adding the students all had something to be proud of.
"History doesn't have to be boring," he said.
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.