EUGENE, Mo. - As a younger student, Ryle Gobble heard the stories about quiz bowl team and looked forward to the day when it would be her turn.
Although the tryout was nerve-racking, Gobble made the five-member, third-grade team at Cole County R-5 Elementary School.
On Tuesday, she served as team captain at the Show Me Conference Knowledge Bowl held at Lincoln University.
The academic-based activity has existed in some form for nearly two decades, said Eugene Principal Dan Smith. In the beginning, it focused more on math and spelling and was hosted at a Jefferson City church.
"It's grown in popularity," Smith said. "Our parents have enjoyed seeing the kids perform in an academic setting."
The present format covers general knowledge and trivia, not limited to what students might learn in a classroom.
Competing in his third knowledge bowl, fifth-grader Justin Lepper wasn't as nervous about the test to make the team, but on whether his team would win.
Lepper's specialty is answering the random questions no one else knows, such as "What is the largest wiener company?"
Fourth-Grade Team Captain Braeden Short, who is strong in geography, agreed. "You think, "How does he know that?'"
Sometimes the questions are leading to an obvious answer, allowing Lepper to respond early. But sometimes that can get a player in trouble, he acknowledged.
"You've gotta be a good guesser," Lepper said.
But the team that rings in early often is the winner in the end, Gobble pointed out.
All three Eugene team captains agree leisure time reading has given them an edge.
And the weekly, after-school practices this semester have been fun.
The competition, however, was a more serious matter.
"I get frustrated when my teammates are on la-la land," Gobble said.
The knowledge bowl offers a non-athletic opportunity for older elementary students, said counselor Emma Dixon.
"We get a mix of kids," Dixon said.
The team sponsors encourage students to review flash cards and watch "Jeopardy," Dixon said.
"They're proud to be part of quiz bowl," she said. "They're dedicated and responsible to be part of something that represents our school."
During the practices and at the tournament, the sponsors admit being surprised at times at the students' knowledge.
"It's funny some of the answers they know," Dixon said. "It's stuff they picked up from shows and books.
"They're definitely learning and remembering things."