TOP PHOTO: Brian Henegar competed on Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions. Tune-in March 1st on Channel 10 at 7:30 pm to cheer Brian on!

Class photo of Brian Henegar and his other 26 fellow Tournament of Champions competitors.

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Most people don’t get to live their dream once, let alone two-times, but the dream continues for LaFollette’s Brian Henegar who once more competed on Jeopardy! In early February, Henegar flew out to Los Angeles to compete in the prestigious Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions (TOC). Henegar was in a 27-person playoff consisting of the other season 39 “three-day champs.”

The competition is for the quarter final game and airs Friday, March 1st on Channel 10 WBIR at 7:30 pm.

Henegar got the 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 and his sister Katie flew out to L.A. for the competition which took place Feb. 4th through Feb. 10th.

Henegar likened the experience to getting to play in an “All-Star baseball game.”

LaFollette’s Brian Henegar will be competing on Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions. Be sure to watch on Friday, March 1st at 7:30 pm on Channel 10!

“It was like I was on a championship ball team, and I got drafted to be in the All-Star game. These are the best of the best, and it was an amazing honor to be a part of it. You want to win, but just being surrounded by that group of players is mind-blowing,” Henegar said.

He had already fulfilled his lifetime dream of competing on his favorite game show in April of last year and now he said it’s like he just “hasn’t awakened from that dream.”

Brian Henegar was awarded the Best Celebration Award at the Jeopardy! Honors banquet, which took place on the set of Wheel of Fortune before filming started for the show’s Tournament of Champions.

One of his highlights of the experience included competing with “Celebrity Jeopardy! Contestant Ike Barinholtz.

“He was so nice and so down to earth; he didn’t put on airs at all, he was wonderful,” Henegar said.

Another highlight of his time out in L.A. was the awards banquet, which took place the night before filming started. At the banquet, the contestants were awarded with Yearly Honors awards, which are something akin to class superlatives in high school and “honor some of the best moments on the show” over the past year.

LaFollette’s Brian Henegar will be competing on Jeopardy!’s Tournament of Champions. Be sure to watch on Friday, March 1st at 7:30 pm on Channel 10!

Henegar was the obvious choice for the “Best Celebration Award” for his joyous reaction to his answer being correct and being named champion during his April 4th competition last year.

“They didn’t tell us what the categories were going to be. I was sitting next to my sister and when I see Best Celebration, that rection you saw on YouTube was exactly how I felt,” Henegar said. Funnily, he was wearing the same orange shirt and tie from when he was on the show the first time. There wasn’t time for speeches when accepting the awards, but Henegar said he couldn’t resist a quick “ad-lib” about his Tennessee Orange shirt.

“I said, I promise you guys I do own another shirt and that got a big laugh from the crowd,” Henegar said.  He told another funny story about getting his award back home on the plane.

The trophy is ”pretty awesome” and consists mostly of six and a half pounds of glass shaped like a question mark. Henegar said to keep it safe on the flight home, he had to “wrap it in a pair of pants.” After he got home and opened his luggage, he found a note from TSA saying his bag had been searched due to a seven-pound mysterious object.

For Henegar, it’s all part of living his childhood dream.

Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings and LaFollette’s Brian Henegar during filming of the Tournament of Champions in Los Angeles in early February.

“Very few people get to live their dream once, let alone twice. It’s like when Elvis Presley was given the award by the Jaycees (United States Junior Chamber of Commerce), he said, ‘every dream I have ever dreamed has come through a hundred times’ and that’s how I feel, I’m riding the wave,” Henegar said, adding that the “whole experience still doesn’t seem real” and that it “hasn’t sunk in yet.”

“I think it will seem more real when I see myself on TV on Friday; I’m not taking any of this for granted, it’s literally my dream come true,” Henegar said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 02/28/2024-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRIAN HENEGAR)