‘I can’t believe I am here’: Die-hard ‘Jeopardy!’ fan reflects on being a contestant

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GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) — A Greeley resident who has been a die-hard fan of Jeopardy since the 1980’s reflects on her once in a lifetime experience on actually appearing as a contestant on the show she continues to love.

To say Debbie Kauffman is a fan of Jeopardy would be, an understatement. When Kaufman’s son Ben was a baby, he would cry when the daily double music came on. “You know, we would grab him and turn it back down and then turn it back up, what are you gonna do?” Kauffman said.

It was just a matter of time before she auditioned for the iconic show. “I think it was June 2018 when they said ‘Can you come to Portland?’ and I said I can come to Portland,” Kauffman said.

Lo and behold, the professor of music history at the University of Colorado passed the audition. In March 2019 she hopped a plane to Culver City, California.

“I was in the hotel and they came in the morning to pick us up, and you were supposed to bring three changes of clothing in case you were on for a while,” she said.

The experience of actually being on the set of Jeopardy was surreal to Kauffman, she says. “It was surreal, I was like I can’t believe I am here.”

She was, and her episode aired July 1, 2020. For Kauffman it was a day of days.

“I did not win, my only regret is I didn’t get to play another game, I really wanted to play another game,” Kauffman said.

Debbie Kaufman went home with a $1,000 third-place consolation prize. But she’ll be the first to tell you she went home a winner.

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