With winnings totaling more than $235,000, Tom Nissley can officially be called Ballard’s resident brainiac. The recent 8-day Jeopardy champ was told after his final win that he is the show’s third-highest money winner in game history (not including tournaments.)
After going through the screening process, Nissley finally got the call in August that he would be a contestant on an episode taping in September. “That’s not a lot of time to cram,” he told us over the phone. “There’s a lot you just can’t prepare for.” Nissley says he focused on topics that come up regularly like geography and U.S. Presidents.
Once on stage, under the lights and in front of the camera he says he wasn’t as nervous as he expected. Jeopardy shoots five episodes in one day so everything happens quickly. “I think if it happened as slowly as it did on TV I’d be a lot more nervous,” he laughed. Coming up with the questions for the clues was the easy part, he says, “I was actually a lot less nervous than telling the story about myself in the middle of the show.”
During one of the shows, host Alex Trebek asked Nissley what he plans to do with the money. Nissley told the audience that he wants to help his wife’s purse business. Glitter Sweet is the brainchild of Nissley’s wife, a Whittier mom of two and another mom on Queen Anne. “Most of the bags are made in our basement,” he says. That will probably change with his recent win.
We may see Nissley again later this year during the fall Tournament of Champions, but so far he hasn’t received a call.