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Sonora student sets record on 'Jeopardy!' Kids Week

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By Kelly Cantrall

Skyler Hornback had said it was a long five months to hold on to his secret of the outcome of his “Jeopardy!” episode. After the show aired Wednesday night, it’s easy to see why.

Hornback, a Sonora resident and student at LaRue County Middle School, set a “Jeopardy!” Kids Week record, winning $66,600 in the game, the highest one-day total in Kids Week history. The sum is the third-highest one-day total in “Jeopardy!” history.

Hornback said his record-setting appearance on the game show still doesn’t quite seem real to him.

“It’s just really hard to put into words,” he said.

Hornback and his parents, Jeff and Barbara, hosted a viewing party Wednesday. Speaking before the party, Hornback said he was very excited to see how his family would react to the show.

“There’s two possibilities — it’s either going to be chaos or it’s going to be complete silence,” he said.

Hornback’s big win came from fearless wagering in the game, including $10,000 on a Daily Double question and $30,000 on the final question. When Hornback learned that the final question would deal with the Civil War, a subject on which he’s well-read, he felt confident about his ability to answer it correctly.

To prepare for the show, Hornback played a “Jeopardy!” computer game. And he played the real game the same way, with a “go big or go home” attitude, he said.

“I felt like I was still at home playing that game,” he said.

After making his wager, which would have cost him his lead if he answered the question incorrectly, he wondered if he’d made a good decision.

“If I get this wrong, my parents are going to die,” he said he remembered thinking.

But the question, which dealt with the Emancipation Proclamation, was one he knew.

“I couldn’t have gotten luckier,” he said.

Hornback plans to use the money to cover his housing at Western Kentucky University, where he already has a full-tuition scholarship, or possibly to attend his dream school of Yale University.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.