Colorado Knowledge Bowl

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Colorado Knowledge Bowl is the predominant form of quizbowl played in Colorado. It runs on Academic Hallmarks (Great Auk) questions and can be considered bad quizbowl for this reason. There are hundreds of schools and several leagues across the state that participate in Knowledge Bowl. There is also a middle school Knowledge Bowl circuit.


Knowledge Bowl was launched in 1978 by the San Juan Board of Cooperative Services of Durango, Colorado. It was response to a request by a group of area student body leaders who asked for some kind of competitive academic activity. The first meet was held in Pagosa Springs and involved just three high schools. Within two years, it evolved to include scores of invitational meets in addition to regional competitions and a Colorado state championship that has been held annually ever since.

The first statewide Colorado State Knowledge Bowl was held in 1978 at Fort Lewis College in Durango. Most of the competing teams that year came from schools in mountain districts. One of the few Colorado Front Range schools in the competition that year, Green Mountain High School in Jefferson County won the first statewide championship. Green Mountain would go on to triumph in three of the first four years of the competition, taking first place in 1980 and 1981 as well.

Around 1983, Bill Brown founded Academic Hallmarks after having worked with Colorado Knowledge Bowl. At some point after this AH took over responsibilities of writing questions.

As of 2016-2017, the Colorado Knowledge Bowl Foundation oversees the state and regional Knowledge Bowl tournaments in Colorado.[1]

Meet Format

Colorado, like Knowledge Bowl in other states, feature two types of rounds, written rounds (worksheet) and oral rounds (quizbowl). The winner of a meet is decided based on cumulative score from every round.

Colorado Knowledge Bowl meets start off with the written round. This round comprises of 40 or 60 multiple choice questions. The teams can discuss content of questions only during the written round. Teams may have between 2 to 5 people, a number that is often dependent on school size. The scores from the written round determines which teams will compete against each other in the first oral round. There are usually four oral rounds during a meet and consist of forty or fifty questions each.

During oral rounds three teams compete against each other simultaneously in a single room. Only four members of a team may take part in these rounds, so if the team has more than four members, the other members may substitute in after half of the questions in that round.

The subject of each questions is announced before it is read. Teams can buzz at any time, even before the reader has finished reading the question. The team may not discuss the question after buzzing, but they may decide who answers the question. In the Colorado Springs area meets, no talking period is allowed. However, teammates may use hand signals to determine who will answer.

A team that buzzes has 15 seconds to answer and is prompted when 5 seconds remain. If the first team that buzzes in answers incorrectly, either of the other two teams may ask the reader to finish the question and even repeat the question once. Use of paper is allowed during rounds for taking notes, computations, or keeping score.

After each round teams are reassigned to rooms according to their total oral and written scores. After the final round, the team with the highest cumulative score throughout the tournament wins the meet.

Season Structure

(under construction) A team typically plays in around six meets a season, excluding "postseason" play[2]. Some meets are organized based on leagues or Colorado High School athletic association (CHSAA) conferences, and a teams may attend a number of invitations as well. Around March, regional competition occurs and these results will determine participation in the State Meet, which is usually held in April.

List of Knowledge Bowl Leagues

*not Knowledge Bowl per se

† an single meet, not a league

Colorado State Knowledge Bowl Meet

The state competition, which is usually help in April, runs similar to most other meets with a few differences. Around 50 teams compete in the state competition. Although teams are ranked by their (CHSAA) class designation, all teams will compete with one another. At the end of the the meet, the top three overall teams compete in a separate round for the Governor's Cup.

Relation to Quizbowl

Colorado is known for being an epicenter of Bad quizbowl. Teams have traditionally attended either Chip Beall's National Academic Championship or the National Tournament for Academic Excellence/Panasonic Academic Challenge for "nationals". Grand Junction has, however, attended several HSNCT tournaments in the past.

Fairview hosted the first pyramidal tournament in Colorado on good questions in Spring 2015.

There has also been little quizbowl participation at any degree-granting higher education institution in the state until 2015 when University of Colorado Boulder under Jordan Boyd-Graber started a program.

State Meet Results

Results from Knowledge Bowl competitions are apparently not posted on the internet, except for local press reports. The following is a rough summation of said data.

Governor's Cup

Year Champion Second Third
2012 Palisade
2010 Grand Junction Fairview Palisade
2007 Grand Junction Rampart Berthoud

Class 5A

Year Champion Second Third
2013 Fossil Ridge Grand Junction Fairview
2012 Fossil Ridge Fairview
2011 Grand Junction
2010 Grand Junction
2009 Grand Junction
2008 Grand Junction
2007 Grand Junction
2006 Grand Junction

Class 4A

Year Champion Second Third
2013 Palisade
2012 Palisade
2011 Palisade Windsor
2010 Palisade Fort Morgan
2002 Pueblo South Summit(?) Berthold(?)

Class 3A

Year Champion Second Third
2013 University
2012 Salida Alamosa Bayfield
2011 Bayfield Estes Park
2010 University
2009 University

Class 2A

Year Champion Second Third
2010 Fountain Valley School
2009 Fountain Valley School
2008 Rocky Ford(?) Fountain Valley School(?) Custer County(?)

Class A

Year Champion Second Third
2013 Ouray
2012 Ouray
2009 Sierra Grande

Middle School