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Westchester Man Appearing On 'Jeopardy!'

Mike Solano will be a contestant on Jeopardy Friday night.
Mike Solano will be a contestant on Jeopardy Friday night. Photo Credit: Jeopardy Productions

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- This Sleepy Hollow resident is fulfilling a lifelong dream when he is a contestant "Jeopardy!" Friday night.

The question: Who is Mike Solano?

Solano, a speech pathologist, said he's been trying for a number of years and after taking an online test in January 2015, he was called to audition in Boston. After several more tests at his audition, he was called the day after his birthday and told he was going to be on the game show.

"It was a nice present," Solano said.

"Jeopardy!" airs at 7 p.m. on WABC, Channel 7.

The Sleepy Hollow contestant has been a lifelong fan of the game show, and said "Jeopardy!" was one of the first words he learned to spell.

"It's one of the more difficult game shows," Solano said. "They don't ask questions everyone knows or have silly gimmicks. It's very straightforward. The rapid fire nature of the questions appealed to me.

Before going on "Jeopardy!," Solano said he had the reputation as being the guy you would want on your bar trivia team.

Solano taped his episode in Los Angeles on March 30. He said it wasn't nerve-wracking until the lights came on.

"Then I realized that this is really happening," Solano said. "It was a great experience. I'm excited to see how it all comes together. When you hear 'this is Jeopardy' that's when it became real."

Helping to calm his nerves was the fact that Solano's episode was one of the last episodes filmed, and he got to watch several games unfold before he took the stage.

Solano said host Alex Trebek was friendly, taking questions from the audience and talking to the contestants.

"He has that posh swagger about him," Solano said. "But after 30 years, he's earned it."

When it comes to playing the game, learning how to work the buzzer is everything, Solano said.

"A lot of smart people get on the show," Solano said. "You're playing against people who are just as smart as you if not smarter. If you can get that correct answer and control the board, it makes all the difference."

Solano said his strategy was to stick to his strengths and keep things in order rather than jumping around the board. He said his best categories would be sports, American history and geography while his weaknesses would be art and fashion. Answering in the form of the question was also not a challenge.

"It's surprising how naturally it comes," Solano said. "They really drill it into your head."

While Solano can't say how he did, he said the game went by very fast.

"It was a whirlwind," Solano said.

A native of Long Island, Solano said his family will be holding two viewing parties- one in Long Island and one in Sleepy Hollow.

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