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Nine Mile Falls’ Staci Huffman wins big on ‘Jeopardy!’

Staci Huffman, a CPA from Nine Mile Falls, filmed “Jeopardy!” in late October. (Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)
Staci Huffman, a CPA from Nine Mile Falls, filmed “Jeopardy!” in late October. (Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)

Nine Mile Falls’ Staci Huffman has received an impressive holiday bonus this year, to the tune of just over $30,000.

Not bad for an hour of work.

Huffman recently appeared on two episodes of “Jeopardy!”

During the first, which aired Friday, Huffman defeated reigning champ Dave Leffler, a retired police detective from Pennsylvania, and ended the day with $29,201.

Reflecting on her first appearance on the show, Huffman doesn’t thinking too much about who she was competing against but rather the categories planned for the episode.

The Jeopardy! round featured categories like “All About Authors” and “Pro Wrestling,” while the Double Jeopardy! round included the categories “What a Countr‘E’ ” and “After the Civil War.”

“Sometimes it will be a category and it will make it will look like one thing but when you get into it, it’s another,” Huffman said. “None of the categories were like ‘Oh, this is going to be my jam.’ None of those were like that. I said ‘OK, let’s just make this work.’ ”

Huffman thought she would do better in the “Faces” category (her friends teased her for not recognizing Kevin Durant, who made an appearance at Hoopfest last year), but even still she ended up surprising herself a few times while watching the show.

In the “After the Civil War” category, for instance, Huffman responded to the clue “Clara Barton traveled to this Confederate prison to help gather evidence of missing and deceased soldiers” with the correct answer, “What is Andersonville?”

But watching the show on Friday, the question stumped Huffman, and she was surprised to see herself answer on screen.

“There was some of them that I remember seeing the clue on the screen and saying ‘Hmm, this is interesting.’ Then I answered it right,” she said. “I didn’t remember that I was the one that answered it.”

Heading into the Final Jeopardy! round, Huffman was in the lead with $16,000.

But when host Alex Trebek announced the category, “Opera,” Huffman began to worry.

“It was the category I did not want to see,” she said. “If you had asked me ‘What category do you not want to see in Final Jeopardy!’, I would have said ‘Opera.’ ”

During the commercial break, Huffman made a list of all she knew about opera and hoped it would help once the clue was revealed.

The clue: “In Act I of this opera, a messenger says ‘Barbarous Ethiopians’ have invaded and ‘are already marching on Thebes.’”

Despite her limited knowledge of opera, Huffman answered correctly, writing “What is ‘Aida’?”

Her wager of $13,201 pushed her over the edge and into the winning position.

“I don’t know how, if it hadn’t been the Friday show, how I would have gone right back into another show right after that because I was so over the moon excited that I would have been bouncing off the walls,” she said. “I probably still was a little bit in the morning.”

The next morning, Huffman moved into podium one, hoping to keep her winning streak alive.

Huffman’s second episode aired Monday.

The categories weren’t as memorable the second time around, but Huffman does remember one clue in particular.

The category was “The Bank of the United States.” The clue was “The bank began with a proposal to Congress from this treasury secretary in 1790.” Huffman gave the correct response of “Alexander Hamilton.”

“I wished I had the gumption to sing it,” she said with a laugh.

She entered the Final Jeopardy! round in second place, but unable to come up with the correct response of “Addis Ababa,” Huffman ended the game in third place.

But she still walked away with another $1,000.

Though sad that her “Jeopardy!” experience is over, Huffman enjoyed her time on the show and watching her episodes with friends and family.

Plus, she can’t help but feel proud of her accomplishments.

“I have the perspective of ‘I got to win. I was one of the two people that week that got to win,’ ” she said. “I was happy for that and I would never think less of my friends who didn’t win, so I’m like ‘Why would I think less of me because I didn’t win that game?’ ”

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