Joseph Ditzler
The Bulletin

Rachel Lindgren prevailed a fifth time Thursday to remain the reigning champion on the TV quiz show “Jeopardy!”

Although trailing the leading contestant by $3,000 entering the final round, Lindgren won Final Jeopardy not with the correct answer, but by wagering nothing. All three contestants missed the correct final response, “Vincent Van Gogh.”

Lindgren went with her first impression and wrote “Dostoyevsky,” she said Thursday, “which was a mistake.”

Lindgren, 26, a U.S. Forest Service fire lookout and Mt. Bachelor ticket agent from Bend, goes on Friday to a sixth round of the popular game show.

The episodes of “Jeopardy!” in which Lindgren appeared were recorded in October, she said. The show is produced twice a week, with five days’ worth of shows recorded each day.

On Thursday, Lindgren, who’s lived in Bend just over a year, said she grew tired in the latter part of the first day she took part in “Jeopardy!” and didn’t expect to win the fifth round.

“I don’t think I sat down once,” she said, “except for lunch.”

After the fourth installment, which aired Wednesday, she said friends were calling her the “cat lady,” because she answered correctly every question in a category about species of wild cats. Actually, she’s a dog person, she said. A lifelong love of animals helped her own that category, she said.

A watch party has gathered each night at the Platypus Pub on NE Third Street to watch Lindgren, a regular there at Tuesday night trivia competitions. Her co-workers at Mt. Bachelor and the Deschutes National Forest are rooting for her, too, representatives there said Wednesday. Lindgren, a Carson City, Nevada, native and graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, sells tickets at Mt. Bachelor and last season was a fire lookout at Lava Butte.

After five days, Lindgren has racked up $75,999 in winnings. She also gained a legion of online followers. State Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., both tweeted messages of support under #RachelLindgren on Twitter.

Lindgren said she’s received a multitude of messages through social media, including marriage proposals and offers of flight instruction. Earlier, she said she wanted to use her prize money to learn to fly.

Thursday, the program pitted Lindgren, the returning champ, against Rosie Jonker, a literary agent from New York, and Jeff Machusko, a data analyst from Centennial, Colorado. Lindgren fell behind going into Final Jeopardy, with $10,800 to Jonker’s $13,800.

She said she’s enjoying her moment on stage: “I’ll enjoy it while it lasts because it won’t last forever.”

“Jeopardy!” airs at 7 p.m. on KOHD.

— Reporter: 541-617-7815,