TOP PHOTO: LaFollette’s Brian Henegar is heading back to California to compete in Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions! He is pictured here in an April 2023 photo of his interview with WLAF’s Susan Sharp.

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – LaFollette’s Brian Henegar is heading to California once more to compete on Jeopardy! 

The three time champ got a surprise invitation to compete in the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions (TOC) in early December while being interviewed by WBIR’s Robin Wilhoit and Brittany Bailey.

He had fulfilled his lifetime dream of competing on his favorite game show in April of last year and now he gets to play with the “all stars” of season 39 in the TOC. He and the other seven three day champs from last year are heading to L.A. sometime “in the near future” to compete  for the top prize of $250,000 “if you win the whole thing.” In all, it will be a 27 person playoff.

Henegar had believed he was going to have to compete in the Wildcard playoffs to earn a chance to play in the TOC. However, Henegar, along with the other three day champions from Jeopardy!’s season 39 all got the surprise invite to bypass the Wildcard round and go straight to the Tournament of Champions. 

“Back in December I got invited by Channel 10 to do their show 10 About Town. They said they wanted to talk about the Jeopardy Championship Wildcard playoffs,” Henegar said.

During his interview, he received a special video call from Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings, who told him he was skipping the Wildcard round and heading to the Tournament of Champions.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out; it came as a complete surprise, ” Henegar said. 

He can’t officially say when he’s being flown out for the competition, but it will be in the “near future” since the episodes are slated to be aired in the spring.

Brian Henegar graduated from Campbell County High School.

“It’s going to be an intense competition, but it’s going to be wonderful. It’s kind of like playing in an all-star game; you’re just so thrilled to be playing with these other people,” Henegar said. He’s part of a Jeopardy! Alumni group online and lots of folks have already reached out to him with congratulations.

According to Henegar, the “Jeopardy! Community” is a supportive one.

“We all want each other to do well; there’s no trash talk. We all want to win, but win or lose, you’re part of a community and that never goes away and that’s why I’m so proud of myself,” Henegar said. 

In the meantime, he will be brushing up on his world capitals, working on Shakespeare and current pop music, all areas where he wants to improve. He’s also playing lots of practice games with friends and keeping his wrists limber for that buzzer. 

From all of us at WLAF, Good luck Brian! (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/08/2024-6AM)

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