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Jeopardy James, Melissa Holzhauer visit 13 Action News studio

Posted at 12:15 PM, Jan 15, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — He may have finished second during Jeopardy's "Greatest of All Time" tournament but he's still the "GOAT" in our eyes.

"Jeopardy" James Holzhauer and his wife, Melissa, stopped by the 13 Action News studio on Wednesday to talk about his experience competing on the special and their push to help make the community a better place.

"It's been a wild ride!" James reflected. "I think Jeopardy's done with me for at least a while now, but we've been talking about how do we recapture the magic of the GOAT tournament?

The Holzhauers spread some magic of their own at Rancho High School after Darcy Spears' 13 investigation showed how the deteriorating turf there was being blamed for a significant spike in concussions and the field was deemed unsafe.

It was one of several dangerous high school football fields we exposed across Las Vegas last September. After seeing our story, the Holzhauer's gave Rancho $25,000 and challenged others.

The Raiders and NFL heeded the call.

"It doesn't hurt to say 'Come join us, come help us.' What's the worst that can happen? They say no. But sometimes they say yes and this was a great yes!" said Melissa Holzhauer.

That "Yes" came in the form of a $250-thousand-dollar grant from the Raiders through the NFL Foundation's Grassroots program. It will help fund a new synthetic turf field at Rancho.

And the couple hopes there's more to come.

"There are a lot of ways we can lend our support," said Melissa. "We can use our voices, we can make donations, we can ask people to match us. I think we want to be involved at all those different levels. And we can come to events and see if NFL players want to come to events and we can raise even more money."

"We were super excited to see this Raiders donation to the football field," added James. "And to be a force for good would be a really good thing."

But James said he just might have to venture to the dark side if a new project comes to fruition.

"They were talking about maybe another game show project where I could be kind of like a villainous persona. I think it would be great."

The couple says any new game show contract would have to include a charity component.

"Celebrity episode with some of the NFL players! I'm serious!" Melissa challenged.

For now, James will focus on a different kind of game.

"I kind of want to go and play and lot of Bridge. More kids should be playing Bridge. It's a fun game."

As for sports betting, which is how he made a successful living before Jeopardy, James says this football season may be his last as a career gambler.

"We'll see if I still need to be doing that in the Fall. Probably once the Super Bowl hits we'll take some time off and see."

For now, neither the fame nor the fortune has really changed them.

The family still lives in their Las Vegas apartment.

"We don't need a mansion," said James. "We're happy where we are. Still driving our Honda Fit."

Sticking with a simple life allows them to give more back to the community.

"Our needs are simple and they're met," said Melissa. "We're happy, we're healthy, we like our apartment, we like our car, we like our life here. And that's why we were able to think about what we want to do with a share of the winnings."

As James looks forward to what's next, he'll hold on to one lasting memory as one of Jeopardy's Greatest Of All Time.

"There was a point where (Alex Trebek) said something about how it was the last time we'd be sharing the stage together and I was like, 'Oh!' You know... It hits you."

The end of a record-setting reign for host and contestant, but in many ways, a new beginning.

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