Colorado State University Student Wins Â??jeopardy!Â?� Tournament of Champions and a $250,000 Grand Prize

Note to Editors: Russ Schumacher will join friends and well wishers to watch the finale of the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions at 3:30 p.m. today at C.B. & Potts, 1415 W. Elizabeth St. The show will be broadcast on KMGH Channel 7.

Colorado State University student Russ Schumacher topped his first appearance on the television game show Jeopardy!, taking home $250,000 for winning the Tournament of Champions today.

Schumacher, 25, a graduate student in the Department of Atmospheric Science, beat out other returning champions in the two-week tournament which showcased the quiz show’s top players from recent seasons. Schumacher qualified by winning $64,800 in October 2003.

"I think it was a combination of being in-sync with the buzzer and studying books, almanacs and the Internet," Schumacher said. "All that studying obviously paid off."

Will winning $250,000 as Jeopardy! champion change his lifestyle much?

"It’s hard for me to think about that now," he said, "but I think it will be a nice cushion. I’ll be able to save for the future, travel and put some money toward my January wedding and honeymoon. I will do things I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise."  

Schumacher, formerly of Chaska, Minn., was joined by fellow Jeopardy! alumni, including an actor, bartender, cab driver and crime data specialist, to name a few.  

"It was a great honor to be back to compete against some of the best Jeopardy! players," he said. Prior to their appearances on the Tournament of Champions, the 15 contestants had cumulatively earned over $1 million in cash.

Schumacher has watched Jeopardy! since he was in elementary school. He attended Valparaiso University as an undergraduate, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in meteorology. When he’s not studying, he enjoys playing golf, baseball and music.

The top prize for Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions was $250,000. Second-place finisher Tom Walsh won $50,000.  Arthur Gandolfi finished third and won $25,000. The six players eliminated in semifinals each pocketed $10,000.  Players eliminated in the first round received $5,000.         

Jeopardy!, a winner of 24 Emmy awards since its debut in 1984, was listed among "The Greatest Game Shows of All Time" by TV Guide, and continues to be a ratings champion. The series is the #1-rated quiz show in syndication, and has held that title for over 1,000 weeks.  

For more information, please contact Jeff Ritter, Jeopardy! Publicist, at (310) 244-6514 or Sara Kaplan, publicity assistant, at (310) 244-6517.