Commentary

Cary man channels love of game shows to raise money for charity

May 15, 2014 

Bob Hagh of Cary practices flipping pencils into cups as a “Minute to Win It” game. He helped create the 24-Hour Game Show Marathon that is streamed live online and raises money for charity.

SARAH NAGEM — snagem@newsobserver.com

  • Want to watch or donate?

    The 24-Hour Game Show Marathon will be streamed live beginning at noon Saturday, May 17, at gameshowmarathon.com. Donations will be accepted during and after the event.

— Bob Hagh’s dream came true in 2007. He was finally on a game show.

Hagh was a 19-year-old college student in Connecticut when he went to New York City to compete on “Chain Reaction,” a word game that aired on the Game Show Network.

He lost.

But he had more success in 2009, when he won $600 for stumping a contestant on “Trivial Pursuit: America Plays.”

Then he almost made it to the game show major leagues last year – a prime-time spot on NBC’s “The Million Second Quiz.” Hagh said he got through the audition all the way to the final round before he lost, missing out on a TV spot.

Hagh, who moved to Cary last fall for his job with Verizon, is still finding a way to channel his love for games shows. At noon on Saturday, he and some friends will kick off their third annual 24-Hour Game Show Marathon to raise money for charity.

This year’s event is in Philadelphia, but anyone can watch online. Hagh hopes the marathon will raise $2,500 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“It’s a giant game night, that’s what it is,” Hagh said.

The event started in 2012 when Hagh and two friends organized a 24-hour marathon through the radio station at Southern Connecticut State University, where Hagh had graduated two years earlier. They raised money for the American Cancer Society.

“We just did it for fun,” Hagh said. “We didn’t expect this to go to a yearly tradition.”

But the following year got bigger and better, with multiple cameras and microphones so people all over world could watch and listen.

This weekend’s event is all set with a studio and HD cameras – no more simple web cams. They’ll play “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “Million Dollar Password” and more. Participants will do all sorts of crazy tasks – like flipping pencils into cups – for “Minute to Win It.”

I admit I’m a game show fan myself. Steve Harvey on “Family Feud” is the next best thing if I can’t find “Law & Order” reruns on TV in the afternoon.

I remember playing a very early floppy-disk version of “Family Feud” on my family’s old-school computer as a kid.

But Hagh takes a love for game shows to the next level. He used to blog about them, and he even did a podcast for the Game Show Network.

It’s all about the unknown – you never know what game show contestants will do when they win big. Hagh said he likes to “see real people be happy and win money to improve their lives.”

The game show marathon is about helping others in a creative way.

“You can see how crazy it gets at 2 o’clock in the morning,” Hagh said.

Next year, Hagh said, he’d like to bring the event to the Triangle. I’ll start practicing some “Minute to Win It” games now to get a head start.

Nagem: 919-460-2605; Twitter: @BySarahNagem

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