Skyler Hornback from Kentucky made a big wager when he appeared on Jeopardy! in an episode of the kids edition aired Wednesday — $30,000. And it paid off, when he answered the final question correctly not only winning the contest but also setting a record for the show.
The 12-year-old already had earned $36,000 on the game show up until that point but when the final Jeopardy! category of the Civil War was announced, Hornback was confident. In fact, he had alluded to having quite a bit of knowledge about President Abraham Lincoln during his short interview on-air with host Alex Trebek, stating he could recite the whole Gettysburg Address, according the Kentucky Herald-Leader.
“Lincoln is a very intriguing figure because most people think they know him when they really don’t,” Skyler said. “There was so much behind that beard and top hat that people just do not realize.”
The final question was: Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, “a fit and necessary war measure.”
Hornback’s first competitor did not post the correct answer. But Thomas Hurley from Newtown Middle School in Newtown, Connecticut, had the correct answer but sadly lost on a spelling technicality. Hurley had written “emanciptation proclamation.” But his wager of $3,000 with $9,600 on the board at the time would not have been enough to beat Hornback anyway.
Although he didn’t win, Hurley told the Newtown Bee ahead of the show airing being a participant was a ”neat experience.”
As for Hornback, he told the Herald-Leader that he “spent quite a few moments thinking about” his hefty wager before submitting it.
“Then, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and jabbed the pen on the submit button before I had any second thoughts. I’m really glad I did,” he said.
With $66,000 in total winnings, Hornback has the third highest one-day winnings (even including adults, putting only Roger Craig and Ken Jennings ahead of him). He took the first place record for single-day winnings for Kids Jeopardy!, ahead of the previous $49,000 record.
“I never dreamed I would set a Kids Week record,” Hornback said in a statement to Jeopardy!, according to the Herald-Leader.
Watch this shortened version of the final clip showing Hornback’s record-setting win:
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