Erin Post has watched two episodes of "Jeopardy!' every week day for over a decade.
She hummed along to the theme song, kept score with the show's iPhone app, experimented with wagers and blurted out answers — always in the form of a question.
This wasn't just for fun; Post, 26, was practicing.
The Bettendorf resident dreamed of seeing herself compete on the game show. And this week, as Post said, "the dream becomes reality."
Post, who works as a data analyst at Deere & Co., is set to appear on the TV quiz show at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on KWQC-TV (NBC).
The Des Moines native taped the show in July in Los Angeles, but auditioned back in July 2015 at a studio in Kansas City.
“When I got the phone call, I thought it was a mean joke because so many of my friends knew how much I loved the show," she said. "And then I was like, ‘Oh, my god, this is really happening.’”
Post began watching “Jeopardy!” as a teenager after school with her grandma and first auditioned for the show when she was 16. In college and graduate school at University of Iowa, Post recorded episodes on DVR. She has taken the show’s online test about 10 times.
“I’ve made my husband watch it with me every day,” she said. “I just love trivia. I like to learn things and cheer for the contestants and I like to be surprised by what you know.”
She knows “the odds are way against you,” but her goal was to appear on the program before longtime host Alex Trebek retired.
After that phone call this summer, Post spent a month studying for the show — she made flash cards featuring facts about geography, Shakespeare and state capitols. She also watched hours of archives of "Jeopardy!" spanning the show's 33-year run.
"My strength is the word play. I like really bad puns," she said. "You know... if you like 'Jeopardy!' you're probably super dorky."
An agreement with the show’s producers won’t allow Post to talk about the results of the show or any of the categories or questions. But she said the result doesn’t matter so much — the “surreal” experience of realizing her dream is enough.
And, yes, it's a lot different than spouting off guesses in her living room.
"The lights are shining, you're standing on the big stage and Alex Trebek is there ... he's not a hologram," Post said. "It’s like ‘I did it. It’s actually real.’”
As she readies to watch her episode with friends and family Wednesday at a Davenport bar, Post says she's nervous about any "wacky faces" she made or "ridiculous things" she said.
"In the moment, my heart was pounding. I was thinking, 'Oh, I hope I don't say anything stupid,” she said. “I blacked out for most of it because I was so focused on playing and getting the buzzer right — I just went into game mode.”
After 10 years, going into game mode "felt pretty awesome."
"Now I don't feel like I have to watch two episodes of 'Jeopardy!' every day anymore,” she said. “Now I need a new goal.”