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    National Historical Park Michigan

Ontonagon Area High School Wins Third Annual History Smackdown

Winning team members Sara Anderson, Kyle Hawley, Derek O’Connell, and Ryan Young hold the Smackdown trophy.
Winning team members Kyle Hawley, Sara Anderson, Derek O’Connell, and Ryan Young hold the Smackdown trophy.
NPS Photo, Dan Johnson

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News Release Date: May 3, 2005
Contact: Abby Sue Fisher, 906-337-3168

Ontonagon’s Rolling Boulders built serious momentum and crushed the competition in the Third Annual High School Local History Smackdown. Winning team members Sara Anderson, Kyle Hawley, Derek O’Connell, and Ryan Young prevailed through 7 rounds of local history questions with their coach Dick Franti looking on. In addition to the traveling trophy, relinquished from last year’s victors, Calumet’s Copper Kings, the Boulders each received $50 savings bonds.

The event took place April 28 at the historic Calumet Theatre, a fitting venue for a local history contest. Sixteen teams participated, with two entries tied for second place: Agassiz’s Army from Calumet High School, and the Lazy Buffaloes representing Jeffers High School. Five teams were knocked out in round 6, all tying for third place, including: Warriors 1 from Copper Country Christian School, MasterMinds from BRIDGE High School, Da Bears from Baraga High School, Frosted Onion Slayers from Jeffers High School, and Proof of Panthers from Chassell High School. Each team also walked away with prizes from a variety of sponsors.

Players and their coaches began the event on stage facing four judges and an audience of over 160 people. Teams were given 15 seconds to respond to short-answer questions posed by Michigan Technological University’s Erik Nordberg, who was this year’s Master of Ceremonies and Quizmaster. Questions ranged from details about place names to mining terminology. After two wrong answers, teams left the stage to join the audience and cheer on their comrades. By missing only one question during the event, the Rolling Boulders won the right to hoist the Smackdown trophy, which will be proudly displayed at Ontonagon High. They will keep it until 2006’s Smackdown, when they will be invited to defend their title against a new group of challengers.

This year’s Smackdown featured extremely tough competition and some pretty difficult questions, all of which were drawn from a variety of local history sources. “We are really impressed with how much the students know,” said Abby Sue Fisher of Keweenaw National Historical Park. “We raised the bar this year, and people should be proud of these scholars. They are all amazing kids.”

The contest has momentum as an annual event in the Copper Country as part of the “Fourth Thursday in History” program jointly sponsored by the Keweenaw National Historical Park and the MTU Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Additional support for this year’s local history contest was provided by the Calumet Theatre, as well as donations of prizes from a variety of local sponsors. For further information contact Keweenaw National Historical Park at (906) 337-3168 or the MTU Archives at (906) 487-2505.

Did You Know?

This exposed vein of copper bearing rock leading into Lake Superior at Fort Wilkins State Park provided evidence of the area's copper wealth

Early native peoples began the first metal mining in North America over 7,000 years ago with copper mining on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper was fashioned into tools and items that were traded throughout North America.