Ken Henderson quizzed at nationals in 1981 and 1982 for First A/G in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. Ken led his team through one of the most dramatic "worst to first" turnaround transformations in Bible Quiz history. After losing every single one of their matches and placing last at the 1981 National Finals, his team returned one year later to win the 1982 Nationals in dramatic fashion, on the final question of the final round. Coming into that final round in 1982, Ken's team from Tecumseh, Oklahoma was tied for first place with the team from Decatur, Georgia with identical 5-1 records. They faced each other in the last round, and in a very tight game in which the lead changed hands numerous times, the match came down to the 20th question. Decatur was leading, 120 to 105, with a single 20 point question left, and thus whomever took the final question would win the match and the national championship. In addition, although they did not know it at that moment, the captains of both teams (Ken, and Rhett Laurens from Decatur) were tied for top scorer with 760 points each, and thus the captain who took the last question would not only win a national championship for his team, but he would also win the individual top scorer award. Ken, who had been quizzing "in the zone" throughout the match, interrupted the question at a very early, seemingly impossible place, but he completed it without any hesitation and was correct. It was a quiz-out question, and thus the 20 points plus the 10-point bonus made Tecumseh the national champions over Decatur by a score of 135 to 120, and it also made Ken Henderson the top scorer over Rhett Laurens by a total points score of 790 to 760.
Ken went on to a highly successful career in the technology profession, becoming an SQL "guru" and publishing numerous books on the subject. Sadly, he passed away in 2008 and is greatly missed by many.
For three consecutive years Joseph Leija led the team from First Assembly of God, New Orleans, LA to National Finals including two consecutive victories in 1983 and 1984 and a strong showing in 1985. Calm confidence would be an apt description of Joseph as he exuded this demeanor throughout his quizzing years. He was never too high nor too low and was a consistent gentleman in victory and defeat. In 1985, after winning twice in a row, New Orleans was still a strong team due to his presence and they were gracious to everyone as they passed their crown. The New Orleans teams were quite balanced as all persons could score, but Joseph was a clear leader during those years as he placed in the top 10 scorers at National Finals (2nd, 4th and 10th in 1983, 1984 and 1985, respectively). The team traveled in its own bus of sorts, and had Bible Quiz as part of their schooling, but being a champion in all facets of life was a part of Joseph's DNA. He was and remains a servant of God, helping others with the knowledge and wisdom he gained as part of the Bible Quiz community.
Jason Picker quizzed three times at National Finals (1985, 1987, and 1988) for the team from Eastside A/G, Tucson, Arizona. In the region, as well as across the nation, he was known as much for his poise and consistency under pressure as he was for his sportsman-like conduct and friendly, endearing manner. Make no mistake, Jason was a fierce competitor every time he took his place at the quiz table, but he also knew that the competition was to be left at the table when the game had ended, and was usually the first to approach the other team to offer his congratulations or consolations.
Jason’s first appearance at nationals was in 1985, the second and final year of the "16 teams in two separate divisions format". Due to the odd format, it is unclear where teams placed unless they were in the top four. Jason’s team, captained at the time by his friend Lee Coate, who was 7th high scorer, finished with a 4-3 record in regular round play, which tied them somewhere in the middle of the pack with a number of other teams.
After just missing a trip to National Finals in 1986, Jason and his team returned to compete for two consecutive years in 1987-88 and amassed an impressive record. Two major changes had taken place since their 1985 showing that seemed to make all the difference in the team's return as a powerhouse. First, Jason's father, Ed Picker, stepped up as the head coach, bringing some much needed lessons in consistency and competitiveness. Jason had also taken over the position as captain, one which clearly suited his talents and drive. The team went on to finish 2nd after a four-way tie, just behind cross-state rival Tempe, AZ, and Jason not only jumped up to the top ten individually, but won the One-On-One competition.
In 1988, Jason came back to National Finals as a senior with a mission – a team championship. His team battled it out against an impressive field and finished 1st by a two-game margin. Jason personally was 2nd high scorer and finished 2nd in the One-On-One competition. Eastside’s team win in 1988 gave Arizona it’s third win in a row, a state record that stands to this day.
Jason lives with his family in Idaho and works for Microsoft. He remembers his years in Bible Quiz as an ongoing positive influence in his daily life.
Kevin Revell was the third member of the famed Lakeland, FL team of the early 90s. The oldest of the boys, Kevin's senior campaign ended in 1990 with their first title over James and Romans.
1988 marked Kevin’s first trip to Nationals. His team finished in 8th place, and was one of two teams from Carpenter’s Home Church that qualified for Nationals. This was a first for any church, as the 16-team expansion only happened in 1984.
In 1989, Kevin would make a giant leap forward, leading his team to 4th place. Kevin was the overall top scorer this season. His excellence that year set the stage for his senior year.
The 1990 National Finals brought together the brash group of boys from Lakeland, FL. Kevin was joined by fellow 50 Greatest Quizzers Garrett Smiley and Joshua Weber. The critical game came in round 9, when Lakeland beat 2nd place finisher Park Crest A/G from Springfield, MO 200-110. This allowed them to withstand losses to Moberly, MO and Houston, TX and end with a 13-2 record and the first of two consecutive titles. Garrett Smiley led the team in scoring in 1990, but Kevin added an Individual Tournament title to his impressive resumé.
Today, Kevin resides in Kentucky and works at Murray State University. He completed his PhD in Chemistry from the University of South Florida in 2006.
"Dan the Man." It was a moniker given by his teammates when they saw how quickly he took to the varied elements of quizzing, and one oft repeated by his friends and competitors for his consistently amazing Bible Quiz performances. What most did not know was that Dan was "the man", but not for the reasons outlined above. Dan, as a freshman in 1989, came to Bible Quiz for one reason alone – he had an insatiable desire to know, understand, and apply scripture to his everyday life. What made Dan a great young man of God was this yearning for true knowledge. What made Dan a great quizzer was the fact he understood that mastering the game, which required mastering the material, would provide the drive to reach his ultimate goal - being "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Dan was lighthearted and easygoing, even in the most tense situations. He also endeared himself to his teammates by always putting team unity and performance way above individual achievements.
He began as a freshman studying the books of Romans & James and was on fire. However, while Dan's flame grew bright, his teammates study slowly diminished. He did well at district finals, but found that was not enough to get him past regional finals. Just before the beginning of Acts, Dan found he had no teammates at his church and a coach who was retiring, so he was allowed to quiz with the next closest team to his church. He joined his new team with excitement and eagerly learned new strategies and better ways to hit, complete, and answer questions. At National Finals in 1991, Dan came on strong and was in the top ten quizzers the night before the final day of quizzing, just ahead of his team captain. Unfortunately, a family tragedy occurred that devastated him. His mother convinced him that he should stay and finish nationals, but after a night without sleep, he lost his momentum and dropped to 15th. On the final day the team lost three of their last five games and finished the round-robin play in a tie for 2nd place, which they won. Dan blamed himself, but his team reminded him that it was a team effort, and that 2nd place was certainly something of which to be very proud.
In the 1991-92 season, a ruling by the national office had allowed some former quizzers, including the team’s top quizzer in 1991, to continue quizzing; then in the middle of the season the decision was reversed, setting the Lakewood team back and forcing them to bring up the top quizzer from the 2nd team, a relative newcomer (Jeremy Rodriguez). The team went from thinking they had a serious shot at a championship to doing their best and using the year to grow into a team that could vie confidently for the 1993 title. Dan was undaunted, and at the 1992 finals the team tied for 5th and Dan finished in the top ten. Throughout the year Dan had been undefeated in One-On-One play at tournaments. He started off the National One-On-One competition by losing the first round. A bit rattled, he quickly regrouped and proceeded to win the entire sudden-death bracket, then beat the quizzer who had beaten him in round 1. To win the championship Dan now had to win two games in a row in front of the Bible Quiz banquet audience. He handily beat his competitor both times to claim the title.
The 1992-93 season over Luke really began for Dan right after 1992 Nationals on the long drive home from Fort Worth, TX. He first wanted a Luke portion to study on the way home. Then, while traveling through Arizona, Dan moved up behind his coach and quietly asked: "What do I have to do to win nationals?" The answer: "Agree to do whatever I tell you to do when I tell you to do it." He was told to think on it before responding. Five minutes later he agreed, saying: "I’ll do it, and if it looks like I am slacking off, just remind me that I made this promise." Fortunately, the conversation was rarely revisited.
During the 1992-1993 season, the team won all ten tournaments they attended, and Dan won every One-On-One competition he entered, which were quite common in those days. Sailing through Regionals, the team spent 40-50 hours per week in practice for six weeks in the Summer, knowing their top two competitors (Bartlesville and Braeswood) would do the same. Dan’s work, along with his teammates, paid off big. The team finished 1st with a record of 18-1, the best record since expansion. Dan finished 2nd High Scorer, while his teammate Jeremy Rodriguez finished 8th. Dan proceeded to win the One-On-One Competition from start to finish, with Jeremy finishing 3rd. The team was triumphant and no one was happier than Dan.
Back then Nationals was held in conjunction with General Council, and big BQ events were reported in the daily General Council newspaper. A reporter contacted Rich Percifield, then BQ National Coordinator, and said getting through an interview with Dan about winning the One-On-One was almost impossible because all they wanted to talk about was the fact that his team won the championship. He told the reporter what he had always happily announced to anyone who would listen: "I LOVE this team." To this day he rarely discusses his personal accomplishments, preferring to elevate his teammates over himself.
Since graduating college Dan has never stopped studying God’s word, and can still perfectly quote huge portions of what he learned in BQ. Dan worked with a conservative think-tank in Washington, D.C., made a career in real estate, and is now a regional manager for a major energy company. He is happily married to the love of his life, Sheryl, and has five children. He has consistently served as a QM at all levels of BQ since 1993, and is an elder and teacher at his church.
Matt Reed quizzed for St. Clair Shores, MI in the mid-1990s. In 1994, this team burst unexpectedly onto the Nationals stage, capturing the title seemingly out of the blue. Matt was a junior this season, and finished 4th in individual scoring.
In 1995, St. Clair Shores returned to Nationals with all three starters from their championship team. Though they weren’t able to replicate their success from the previous season, they did defeat Santa Ana, CA in a playoff to capture third place. Matt Reed once again finished in the top 10 scorers, ending in 6th place. That same year, Matt was the Individual Tournament champion.
Though his Nationals career was brief, his results were meteoric, proving himself against some of the other great quizzers that occupy spots on this list. He was a lethal hitter and a smart competitor.
Joy Daigle quizzed for Syracuse, NY in the mid-1990s. Her first trip to Nationals came in 1993 over the notoriously difficult Gospel of Luke. Her team finished 18th, and she placed 13th in scoring, all of which was a prelude to a fantastic Nationals career.
In 1994, her team jumped to 5th place, showing radical improvement in her second Nationals. Joy achieved 2nd in scoring, finishing only behind the legendary Lisa Wootton. Clearly, Joy had learned from her inaugural trip to National Finals.
The 1995 Nationals in St. Louis, MO was a quirky one, because it was the first quizzing over the NIV after more than 30 years of KJV quizzing. Joy handled the transition with excellence, leading her team to a 2nd place finish (Syracuse lost to Allison Park in a playoff match for first). Note that her team’s performance improved at each successive Nationals. In addition, Joy once again scored highly as an individual, finishing 3rd overall.
In her 1996 senior campaign, Joy only had one place to move up to continue her team's legacy of improvement. Sure enough, Syracuse conquered all, winning the title with a 20-2 record. Her team won some tough games, including an impressive overtime win against host team Central A/G from Springfield, MO. Joy repeated her scoring finish from 1995, finishing 3rd once again.
Joy Daigle’s impressive four-year run as a Nationals quizzer demonstrated excellence and tenacity. Joy was feared for her ability to dominate games with difficult 30s and strong hits over tough questions. Her abilities as a quizzer and team leader make her a natural choice for the 50 Greatest Quizzers of the First 50 Years.
Joey Bohanon quizzed for the legendary Central A/G program from 1994-2000. He competed at Nationals five times, finishing as high as 4th in scoring his senior year. In 1995, Joey was a part-time starter on the team with Karl Dawson, Todd Katter, and Shaun Lotter. That team finished 6th in the challenging first year of NIV quizzing over the Gospel of John.
In 1996, Joey got his first chance to lead a team of first-year junior high quizzers. The so-called "second team" shocked everyone by qualifying for Regionals. There, thanks in part to the expanded Nationals field, Joey led his team to Nationals. In a year that offered tremendous learning, Joey’s team finished 21st, though Joey did score a perfect game at Nationals (something he takes pleasure in pointing out that Dawson never accomplished). Joey was the 17th high scorer as an 8th grader.
The 1997 season saw Joey move to the top team, quizzing alongside veterans Katter and Rowe. This team demonstrated great balance, finishing 2nd despite failing to place a single quizzer in the top 15 scorers. Joey was 19th overall, leading his team in scoring. He also placed 2nd in the Scholarship Quiz (similar to today's east-west quiz) in one of the most interesting exhibition matches ever played at national finals.
Following a disappointing 1998 season (known at Central as "The Other Year We Didn’t Make It"), Joey bounced back nicely in 1999, finally cracking the top 10 scorers at Nationals. His 10th place finish gave him three top-20 finishes in four appearances. His senior year would tell the tale of his legacy.
Joey's final Nationals, in 2000, saw Central finish in 3rd place, and Joey earn 4th in individual scoring. He also finished 3rd in the Individual Tournament. To read Joey’s memories from this National Finals in his own words, click here.
Joey's skills as a hitter, his fearless approach, and his encyclopedic concordance knowledge made him a fierce competitor. Having the opportunity to quiz at Nationals from a young age gave him a wealth of experience and built his confidence. Even as a young quizzer, competitors could never overlook a team with Joey at the buzzers. His five Nationals appearances place him in a rare class, seeing as all but one of those came before the 40-team expansion.
Today, Joey serves as a popular question writer and quizmaster, as well as carrying the load as an administrator of biblequiz.com. He earned a PhD in Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and currently works for the US government.
Ricky Haney quizzed for Orange Hills A/G, Orange, CA from 1995-2002, starting in 6th grade and memorizing 15 books of the New Testament. Known to most of his competitors at the quiz table for his calm consistency, he was known during times of fellowship as a baseball fan and easy-going, all-around jokester. In an interview with his first coach, he was described jovially as the "thorn in my flesh, the messenger of Satan to torment me" and "the quizzer whom I had to drag through the book of Acts kicking and screaming". On a more serious note, his coach remembers him as the "team’s needed jolt of humor and strength in what were many highly competitive situations throughout the years".
Regardless of the various perceptions of him, he quizzed for a church, and team, that went on to break or tie every single record in BQ history. Often overshadowed by the captain on his 1999) Acts team (Kent Piacenti), in his first appearance at National Finals Ricky placed 5th high scorer with 82.17 points-per-game behind a captain who averaged 152.17 points-per-game. An amazing feat considering the fact that the 2nd – 4th high scorers, who were the top scorers on the 2nd, 4th, and 6th place teams, averaged only 2-4 more points per game than Ricky did. In fact, Ricky was not even first on re-reads that year – those were given first to the 3rd chair on his team (David Dorey) who had memorized all of the material, and who finished 15th place with an average of 46.74ppg. This was the highest three-man finish in the history of BQ, a record that stands to this day.
After a record-setting performance at 1999 National Finals, Ricky and his team, without graduate Kent Piacenti, set a goal to shoot for another championship. Secretly they would have been happy with any finish in the top five teams, which still seemed like a long-shot with only two quizzers. At the 2000) National Finals, Ricky again finished 5th high scorer as team captain, and led his team to 5th place, the highest two-man finish in BQ history.
While the 2001) Finals ended with Ricky in 9th place individually, and 9th in the team competition, for the first time he broke into the finals of the Individual Competition, finishing fourth.
The beginning of the 2001-2002) season brought a new quizzer to the Orange team, with Peter Brown moving from Washington to California. Although some thought bringing a new top scorer to the team would have disturbed the balance, Ricky and David quickly welcomed Peter and they became best of friends. The culmination of Ricky’s senior year in quiz was a second undefeated national championship, a feat accomplished by only two other quizzers ever (David Dorey & Peter Brown), both from Ricky's teams. While Ricky’s scores were no longer the team's highest, he and David finished 21st and 22nd respectively. Ricky said winning another team championship had been his big goal for ending his quizzing career on a high note.
Since graudation, Ricky completed a degree in education from Louisiana State University, and lives in Louisiana with his wife Beth and their beloved animals. He has been involved in quiz over the years as both a coach and an official. Ricky maintained his relationships with his old teammates and coaches, keeping in regular contact through phone, internet, and on various trips together. He has commented often that he doesn't know where he would have ended up without the relationships he forged through quizzing, and that he has found the scripture to be a constant source of positive growth and encouragement, and an ever-present help in making life’s decisions, regardless of how small or large.
Jenna-Jo Duffy quizzed for Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Washington from 2004 to 2009. Her team accomplishments nearly parallel her brother, Brandon. She quizzed on all four second-place teams (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009), but was on Bothell's second team in 2005. She is one of few second chairs included in this list because of her outstanding individual performances, placing 10th, 17th, 6th, 12th and 10th and making the final of the individual competition twice, winning in 2007.
While Jenna certainly never shied away from concordance questions, she was more at home with the standard "meat and potatoes" questions. Very fast on the buzzer, she could always be counted on for those two or three 20's that can be crucial to a victory. She also had a personality that you couldn't help but like. In 2009, when she qualified for the semi-final match of the individual tournament along with the Daniel, Jesse and Joshua Wagner, the three brothers formed a tight huddle before the match to pray. Completely unfazed, Jenna-Jo muscled her way in to the laughter of the crowd. This spirit of boldness and her many accomplishments earn her a place in the list of top 50 quizzers.