6th Annual Tulsey Awards


Joshua Ritchey

Serial Entrepreneur

Live Event Trivia and Bark At The Pearl


Tulsa entrepreneurs are unique in the world. How have your endeavor(s) added value to our community and the future of Tulsa?
Live Event Trivia: #1 Giving back – through our charity shows at places like Joe Momma’s downtown we have donated 12-15K per YEAR to local nonprofits. Additionally through fundraisers we raised over 700,000 for Family Children Services. Not bad for one night of Trivia. #2 Smiles – hard to put a price on laughter. We have 8 weekly Tulsa area shows. Friends gather to play, strangers become friends, everyone laughs. #3 Helping fellow small businesses. I only do business with bars/restaurants that aren’t national chains. You must be based in the state you are in. In Tulsa I’ve greatly increased the revenues for my bars/restaurants as well as helped with server training and technology consulting (I used to be a trainer for Zios and Chili’s).

Bark At The Pearl: I built a free dog park in the middle of the pearl district (418 s. Peoria). It’s amazing. We’ve been blown away by how much the neighborhood and midtown has embraced having their own park. We’ve had doggie bday parties and college football watch parties. So much fun! We have a splash pad, park benches, and are working on donations for some lights. The park is behind the Live Event Trivia/Live Event Bingo office building.

If you aren’t failing, you aren’t succeeding. Share with us some of your failures to better understand how you have taken the lessons learned and applied them to support getting to where you are today.
Oh man! So many awesome failures. My initial greatest failure was designing my trivia show in Microsoft Powerpoint. I would send the file to the bar each week for their trivia night and they’d run the show with my host. Soon I found that one enterprising bar manager (should give them an award) was selling my powerpoint to other bar owners he knew. I had to put on my attorney hat and fix that situation. What a mess. Now we make the show in HTML5 format and each bar logs in to the website with a username and password. I can track the IP address/location of each login, so I know that my brookside spot is only logging in on Wednesdays at 8 for their show, and downtown logs in Thursdays at 9 for their show.

Another solid fail is when I get too tired to proofread and think I know everything. This used to happen once a month, when I’m writing the show and am convinced I remember something correctly so I just type it up and send it out without taking a minute to research properly. We do a round called dead or alive and I had said that Gene Wilder was alive. This was in 2009. That guy is still alive and doing fine, but I had him listed as dead on the show. It was a big problem, b/c it caused a team to lose that should have tied. Now I have a final proofreader that double checks my work. And then I go through one final time and make sure I can google every answer and prove that it is right from several different sources. Using simple fail safes like this have really improved the quality of my show.

Being creative is vital to an entrepreneurial endeavors success. Share an out-of-the-box experience that has made you stronger as an entrepreneur.
I’m always looking for ways to avoid duplication of work and really streamline my processes. From 2008-2011 I probably worked 70-80 hours a week easily. Now I’ve cut it down to 30-40 on a BAD week. I have always done everything myself and fought anyone that wanted to help or make suggestions. Probably my worst trait, but if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. Right? Well, not always. And probably not usually. In 2010 I started attending a weekly group of other guys that shared common interests and don’t have standard 9-5 jobs. We call it the weekly nerd roundtable. We all home brew beer talk about sports and what’s new in technology. Between the 5 of us, someone always has some great idea that will “revolutionize” trivia. Ha. Originally I would refuse to use these ideas b/c it felt like cheating. If I didn’t think of it, it wouldn’t be fair to implement it.

Eventually I hired the final fact checker referred to in the previous essay, and started to let people help me a little bit. This round table provided the contacts to the software engineers that helped me fine tune our website and trivia distribution system. This round table provided the Video over Wifi we now use so I don’t have to crawl around in ceilings with spools of cable to connect Audio/video systems. And finally, this round table helped me realize that if I just keep as many shows as I can on the same night at the same time, I don’t have to write as many questions. Think about it – you can’t be in San Jose on a Tuesday the same night you could be in Austin on a Tuesday. Even with the time difference and a private plane you can’t do it. So those 2 bars can run the same show simultaneously.

Tell us a story that involved you that either at the time or looking back makes you laugh.
I laugh about this every time I host a show. I've got millions of these stories so I'll share two.

1) We do a trivia round called Dead or Alive, I show you a picture of someone famous, you tell me their name and if they are dead or alive. It's harder than you think. So I'm hosting a show in Florida and this guy raises his hand and says his team doesn't understand how round one works. I'm always patient and don't want to embarrass anyone, so I say "no problem, what part don't you understand" and there is a picture of James Earl Jones on the screen just standing there from some movie, and this guy says "Well, we get the part about writing down their name, it's JEJ and we know that, but do you wanna know if he's dead or alive NOW? Or dead alive in the picture?" And I'm like "what?" you can't tell that the guy was not dead when that picture was taken? why would I have a bar show where we are showing you pictures of dead people. gross.

2) Now that the business has grown I don't have to host the shows anymore. But occasionally someone is sick or out of town so I'll cover for em. And when I do my wife and her friends usually come to play at my show that week. Every time their team name is something ridiculous b/c they know I have to read it on the mic. A few examples Include, Team "I will take the dog out every morning this week while Julie sleeps in" or "I can't wait to take julie to the new channing tatum movie on saturday"

I'm an attorney (TU LAW 2010) and I'm pretty sure there is still a state statute on the books that says you can't tell a lie over a microphone in Oklahoma or something like that. ha. So I always honor my team name commitments.

Thanks to whoever nominated me, this is really an honor. I love this city. Nathan Hale HS football rules!

P.s. I'm too busy to proofread any of this. I just got the email last night and it's due at 6 today? We are doing a game night at guthrie green tonight, trivia, bingo tail gate games and my so called band. Come hang out. 7:30-11:00.

Buy Tickets

  • Sept. 12th: Tulsey Awards Kickoff - Nominations Open
  • Oct. 6th: Tulseys Nominations Close
  • Oct. 16th: Tulseys Voting Opens
  • Nov. 8th: Tulseys Voting Closes
  • Nov. 21st: Tulsey Awards Ceremony
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