It's turned into serious business for the 31-year-old Mill Creek resident.
She now hosts trivia five nights a week at various bars in Snohomish and King counties and plans to leave teaching at the end of the school year to focus on her expanding business, OutLoud Entertainment.
One recent night at the YNot Sports Bar and Grub on Hewitt Avenue, she picked up her microphone to begin five rounds of trivia. She wore a black-and-white striped tie and quickly relayed the ground rules for the weekly event:
Answers to trivia questions must be pulled from brains and not from technology, Nienhuser told a crowd of about 20 people ready to play the bar's weekly game. Teams of up to eight players are allowed and those with the most correct answers after the final round win prizes.
"Rule number three and this is my favorite rule of the night, you're playing for gift certificates to the bar you're sitting in, not for the right to keep your kidneys, so don't take it too seriously," she said.
Nienhuser, a teacher at Whole Child Learning Center in Seattle, started OutLoud Entertainment on April 1.
"Teaching has been such a wonderful, rewarding experience, but my home is behind the microphone," she said. "If ever there was an inanimate object to be a soul mate to it's me and the mic."
Nienhuser remembers that as a teen she painted a wooden spoon to look like a microphone and used it in her car to sing along to her favorite songs. She also announced roller derby bouts in her home city of Spokane before moving to Seattle five years ago. She soon found herself back behind a microphone when an announcer failed to show up for an Everett-based Jet City Rollergirls bout. She continues to announce throughout the league's roller derby season.
Nienhuser hosted pub trivia for Beat the Geek Trivia for more than a year before starting her own business. OutLoud Entertainment has grown faster than expected, she said. That's both exciting and terrifying, Nienhuser admitted, but nothing is causing her to slow down or get quiet.
"I don't know many people that can feel as certain as I do now that I'm doing the absolute right thing in my life professionally," she said. "I get emotional. ... Wait, there's no crying in trivia."
Trivia nights hosted by OutLoud Entertainment typically consist of two rounds of question and answer categories, a photo round, a music round and a random "grab bag" round. First, second and third place teams receive prizes, while the team that scores the fewest points is awarded the "Golden Cup of Loserdom." Ties are broken with a game of Rock'em Sock'em Robots or Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Nienhuser makes sure trivia nights are entertaining and fun, said Lori Fisher. The Everett resident regularly attends trivia with friends at YNot Sports Bar and Grub. Her team, The Misfits, missed out on earning first place by a point and added more people to the team to try to capture the top spot.
"I look over what the categories will be for the week, but I don't really prepare that much," Fisher said. "It's just fun," and Nienhuser "is a kick."
Nienhuser said she tries to maintain a balance in the difficulty of her questions so that nobody answers every question correctly but nobody is stuck without a correct answer, either. She takes requests for trivia categories when possible -- in one recent case, the history of Kenmore.
"If I can make that entertaining, forget about it, I'm gold," Nienhuser said.
OutLoud Entertainment includes three other hosts and an operations manager. Nienhuser is looking for an additional host. She would like her business to provide entertainment for more weddings and holiday business parties as it continues to grow.
Word of mouth has contributed greatly to the overall success of her business, Nienhuser said. She is grateful for the support of her husband, Armando, and others who have supported her.
Maria Stobie, owner of Whole Child Learning Center, said she'll miss working with Nienhuser when the school year ends, but she is supportive of her decision to focus on OutLoud Entertainment.
"I see her energized by what she's doing and what she's creating, and she brings that to work," Stobie said. "She lightens things up with her laughter. I think I will definitely miss that."
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For more information about OutLoud Entertainment visit www.outloud-entertainment.com, call 425-402-0411, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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