The Upper Peninsula is so frequently left off maps that when our demonym, Yooper, shows up on Jeopardy, it’s a pretty big deal.
dem·o·nym : the name used for the people who live in a particular country, state, or other locality
Coincidentally, the definition example on dictionary.com mentions Michigander and Michiganian, but they don’t mention Yooper. Most demonyms are reserved for states and countries as a whole. Few demonyms exist for smaller defined regions like the Upper Peninsula. Outside of those states and countries it’s hard to find borders as defined as the Upper Peninsula. It’s one reason we’ve always celebrated Upper Peninsula’s silhouette. It’s unique, recognizable, and well, just straight UP awesome.
When it comes to any sort of national scale, the Upper Peninsula is known to few, the term Yooper is known to even fewer. It’s no wonder why us Yoopers take such pride in seeing it broadcast not only nationally, but internationally. What’s interesting, is that when it is, the term Yooper is often used in the confines of the dialect, as seen here and here.
The latest example comes from Jeopardy. On March 10, 2014 the word Yooper showed up as an answer on Jeopardy. However, this wasn’t the first time the word has been used on Jeopardy. We first took note of it being used in 2003 for the category “Odd Words”. Who you calling odd, Trebek?
In addition to Yooper showing up at least three times on Jeoprady, Upper Peninsula has shown up at least 21 times, according to J! Archive. In 2004, contestant Emily Riippa from Grand Rapids, even mentioned her love for the Upper Peninsula. At the time, she was just 12 years old. Emily, wherever you are, we have a free shirt waiting for you!
Take a look at all of the mentions below. We left off the answers–errr–the questions, because we think you’ll be able to fill those in just fine! You may even learn a few new fun facts, cow-calling anyone? We’re impressed, as according to J! Archive, the contestant got each of the following correct. Perhaps, people are more knowledgeable about the Upper Peninsula than we thought. Alex, we’ll anxiously be waiting the next one!
Yooper on Jeopardy
|11-26-2003||Odd Words||$1,600||Yoopers are people from this part of Michigan.”|
|12-21-2005||Actor-Playwrights||$200||Jeff Daniels wrote “Escanaba in da Moonlight”, a “super Yooper comedy” set on this state’s Upper Peninsula|
|3-10-2014||Dialects||$800||Yooper is an English dialect spoken primarily in this state’s upper peninsula|
|9-8-1990||Highways & Byways||$800||This bridge links Michigan’sUpper & Lower Peninsulas|
|11-14-1991||Annual Events||$300||This state has an annual Upper Peninsula state fair in Escanaba in August|
|7-6-1993||Forests||$400||Ottawa National Forest isn’t in Canada but on this state’s upper peninsula|
|2-10-1997||U.S. Geography||$400||Laughing Whitefish is a well-known waterfall in this state’s Upper|
|6-3-1997||U.S. Geography||$200||This state’s Upper Peninsula has 2 land regions: the Superior Upland & the Central Lowland|
|6-23-1998||U.S. Geography||$800||This Great Lake’s deepest point, 1330 feet, lies about 50 miles north of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula|
|10-18-1999||Highways & Byways||$500||Michigan’s Upper & LowerPeninsulas are connected by this suspension bridge that’s 1.58 miles between anchorages|
|4-12-2001||Ain’t That America||$100||The Mackinac Bridge joins the upper & lowerpeninsulas of this U.S. state|
|4-18-2001||State of Confusion||$800||This state got its Upper Peninsula from Wisconsin in 1837, making up for its loss of Toledo to Ohio|
|2-25-2002||American History||$200||In 1805 this territory was created from the Indiana one, with all or parts of the lower & upper peninsulas|
|5-20-2004||Annual Events||$800||A cow-calling contest was among the events in 1928 at this state’s first Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba|
|2-23-2007||U.S. Cities||$400||With a name from the Chippewa for “on the summit”, Ishpeming is a top ski center on the upper peninsula of this state|
|7-18-2008||State’s Highest Points||$400||Mount Arvon on the Upper Peninsula|
|5-6-2009||Bodies of Water||$1,600||(Jimmy of the Clue Crew points to a map on the monitor.) The Straits of Mackinac separate theUpper & Lower Peninsulas & connect these two Great Lakes|
|7-14-2010||Annual Events||$800||An annual Michigan event is the Labor Day walk over this bridge between theUpper & Lower Peninsulas|
|1-12-2011||State Sandwich||$1,200||It’s the cheesy filling between Illinois & Michigan’s Upper|
|1-2-2012||State’s Highest Points||$800||Mount Arvon on the Upper Peninsula|
|5-4-20012||Know Your State Borders||$200||On this state! Specifically, on this state’s northeastern border, it’s Michigan’sUpper Peninsula!|
|3-25-2013||Ohio History||$400||In an 1835 “war” Ohio got Toledo & this state got itsupper peninsula|
|4-29-2013||State Facts||$600||It’s the only state that is divided into 2 peninsulas,upper & lower|
|6-10-2013||State of the Onion||$200||“Unable to rebound after the failure of its upper-peninsula franchise”, it “has been forced to close its borders”(Alex: You have to identify the state that is being satirized by The Onion.)|
— Brett VanSloten (@yooperbvan) March 11, 2014