Searcy, Ark. – Most Harding students know Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co. for its unique food and relaxed environment, making it the perfect location for the light competition and fun that junior Mac Conn brings through biweekly trivia nights.
Conn said he became emcee of Slader’s trivia night soon after he was hired in August 2019. Slader Marshall, owner of Slader’s and 2013 Harding alumnus, said Conn expressed an interest in hosting trivia nights early in his employment.
“We are a small business and only have a few team members,” Marshall said. “So we encourage those that we hire to pursue things that are of interest to them … and trivia was that for Mac.”
Trivia night began in 2016 with Harding alumnus Hunter Beck, giving Conn a legacy to continue and expectations to uphold.
“I was really excited,” Conn said. “And I still really enjoy [hosting], especially when I see people come that I have never seen before.”
Marshall said trivia nights were a natural fit for the restaurant because many people enjoy the competition of trivia. He said crowds of people participated in the event for years, and continue to do so with Conn emceeing.
The first trivia night of the 2020 spring semester was Jan. 26, and the turnout was one of the best since Conn began working there, Marshall said.
“Around the beginning of the semester when there’s not much going on, it’s usually pretty packed,” Conn said. “We had 15 or 16 teams this past Sunday — teams of six. That was insane.”
Conn said he loves being in front of the crowd, leading the teams through questions he made up. He said question topics can range anywhere from facts about fluorescent light bulbs to Dolly Parton. The best way to come up with questions, according to Conn, is to think of things people are familiar with.
“People are less excited to rack their brains trying to remember something about an engine component from a late 19th century steamboat,” Conn said.
Marshall said he appreciates how Conn uses his creativity to plan trivia nights, incorporating random topics in the mix of questions to keep people on their toes.
“It’s neat to support a student-driven event where all the effort is completely on Mac,” Marshall said. “He writes the questions, he comes up with the theme, he emcees the event all on his own time — just because he loves to do it.”
Freshman Drew Fowler went to the semester’s first trivia night and said it was a good experience for a lot of people, and he was especially fond of the easygoing and competitive atmosphere.
“Mac runs [trivia night], and he’s just a very chill guy,” Fowler said. “I really liked the competition and seeing a bunch of college kids come out and compete with each other.”
The next trivia night is Sunday at 7 p.m. Show up with a team of six to compete for a chance to win free dumplings.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Conn said. “There’s a fun atmosphere with the more people we have … It’s a Sunday night — what else are you going to do?”