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Large crowds, young and old, wait in eager anticipation of the evening’s exciting event.
Surprisingly, it’s not a local sports event, but a game that challenges the mind — it’s trivia hosted by Jerry Henderson.
For the past five years, Henderson, owner and operator of Creative Entertainment, has been drawing crowds to local and non-local restaurants for a good time and a chance to test their knowledge.
And, for a very animated Henderson, entertaining comes naturally. While in high school, he began working in radio. In later years, he acted in vaudeville and traveled with some famous comedians.
Henderson moved to Fayetteville from Seattle, Wash., more than five years ago to help care for his mother while she recuperated from knee surgery.
He accepted a job as a host for a Trivia Company working in this area and soon developed his own style. Henderson, a high-energy and fast-talking personality, keeps the competition fast moving, fair and fun.
“We try to treat people with respect,” he said.
Consequently, the restaurant owners liked his style, and it wasn’t long before he started a company of his own and began hosting the games. Initially, Fayetteville’s LaFuente Restaurant hired him to host games on Monday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.
“We have nine or ten tables – Saturday rocks here!” he said during an interview at the restaurant.
Sometime later, he was asked to start trivia games at the other three LaFuente Restaurants in Pulaski, Columbia and Lewisburg.
“I do each of their restaurants two times a week,” Henderson said.
Then, more requests for trivia games in surrounding areas came in than Henderson could cover himself, so he hired others.
“I have six other hosts,” he explained. “We get paid to have fun!”
About three years ago, he started hosting a game at Edz Wingz on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s always full …they started taking reservations. It’s intense and a lot of fun.”
Sam’s Restaurant, formerly Cattleman’s Restaurant, signed on for Thursday nights at 7 p.m.
“It’s really a fun place,” he said.
The game moves to El Mariachi in Hazel Green, Ala., on Tuesday evenings.
“There are people I see three to four times per week,” he says.
While most of the games he currently hosts are in southern Middle Tennessee, he recently started a game in Cullman and advertises coverage from Nashville to Birmingham, Ala., and Memphis to Atlanta, Ga.
Rarely has he ever repeated a question, but when he has, it has been worded differently. Henderson asks 16 questions per night from a variety of categories, and there are hundreds of those.
“We try to even out the games – we ask questions about music, computers, technology, TV commercials, ads, slogans.”
Teams work together to come up with the right answer – “It creates a camaraderie,” he said.
Teams never know what to expect. On a given evening, there might be questions about news, headlines, food and drink, sports brand names, history, science and more. With Halloween coming up, there will likely be some obscure questions about that holiday and its history.
“If you’re from eight to 108, you’re going to be able to answer a couple of questions,” Henderson said.
Teams can win prizes, gift cards to pay for dinner at the restaurant that night, a gas card, candy or other special gifts.
“It’s simple and it’s free,” he said. “For most people, it’s not about winning; it’s about the bragging rights!”
In other venues, he has hosted trivia games at corporate retreats, family reunions, holiday parties, wedding receptions and for non-profit organizations. Henderson, a professional DJ, also serves as an emcee and auctioneer for weddings, parties and fundraisers.
Once, he said, he hosted trivia for Governor Phil Bredesen’s support staff.
“I’m lucky. I have a job I enjoy … Fayetteville has been good to me. I love it down here.”
To contact Henderson about a booking, call (256) 654-3478 or email at DJJrBear@hotmail.com.