Mark George, Bainbridge Civic club member and a member of the winning Chagrin Falls area Mind Challenge team, left, presents a donation to Becky O’Reilly, a coordinator at the Bainbridge Senior Center.

The Bainbridge Senior Center will benefit as a result of a local group representing the Chagrin Falls area choosing to challenge their knowledge on a variety of topics. Six participants representing the Chagrin Falls area are taking part in “Mind Challenge.” The local team came in fourth out of 16 teams and won $500. They are giving the check to the senior center.

Five Mind Challenge participants are members of the Bainbridge Civic Club and on March 1, at the civic club’s pancake breakfast event at the Kenston High School cafeteria, they presented their check to the Bainbridge Senior Center, which is located at the Bainbridge Community Church. Becky O’Reilly accepted the check for the center, where she is coordinator of recreation and education.

Bainbridge Civic Club member Mark George, secretary and director of marketing for the civic club, said in the competition semifinals of 2019, members of the Mentor Mind Challenge group ultimately beat the Chagrin Falls team by eight points. The Mentor team went on to win the championship in the 2019 competition. Mr. George is a member of the local Mind Challenge tournament, which is for seniors and Baby Boomers or those 50 and older.

The Mind Challenge questions involve trivia questions, and the team members collaborate on the questions and answers.

Mr. George noted that his wife, Christi, insisted that the Chagrin Falls area needed to be represented in the Mind Challenge competition. Mrs. George said she learned about the Mind Challenge from one of the organizers, Art Greenberg, in late 2018.

The word was then put out, seeking team members. “We had to scramble with short notice to get it formed and several civic club members agreed to represent the community,” Mr. George said. Mind Challenge team members for the Chagrin Falls area are Mr. George, an Auburn resident, Jerry Vowell of Bainbridge, Bill Spehn of Auburn, Steve Hannah of Bainbridge, Mike Kostelnik of Bainbridge, all civic club members and Lynette Huber of Mantua.

Since the Mind Challenge is for senior citizens, the Chagrin Falls group decided to donate the winnings to the Bainbridge Senior Center, Mr. George said.

“We hope more people learn about the Mind Challenge and get involved,” Mr. George said. “We can have more teams in the future from the Chagrin Falls area, and it really is fun.” Due to the popularity, it grew from 16 teams in 2019 to 50 teams this year. “We really want more teams to represent our area next year,” he said.

Anyone interested in joining a team can call Mr. George at 440-591-1819 or email the Bainbridge Civic Club at for sign-up information.

In explaining the process of the Mind Challenge, Mr. George said there is a list of questions, and the teams turn in their answers. Lana Oriani of Get Lucky Trivia reads the question to the teams, and they each have a minute or so to brainstorm and come up with answers and submit them. Topics might include history, geography, music, movies and science.

The Chagrin Falls team beat Solon the first week and won twice to get to the semifinals, however the team then lost to Mentor, which went on to beat the Rocky River team.

Mind Challenge participant and Bainbridge Civic Club member Bill Spehn noted that Mind Challenge members can’t study up for the questions. “We don’t know what they are going to ask,” he said. It is all a surprise.

He and other members note that the Mind Challenge competition allows participants to enhance their brain fitness as well as polish socialization skills while competing for cash prizes.

Local municipalities and senior centers select teams to compete against other cities in the Northeast Ohio region. The program is modeled after March Maddnes, the college basketball tournament format in March.

On March 10, the eastern regional playoffs are set for 10 a.m. at the Mentor Senior Center. The semifinals and finals will be held May 6 at Jack Thistledown Casino in North Randall from 11 am. to 2 p.m.

In the meantime, this is the 68th year for the Bainbridge Civic Club’s pancake breakfast that will continue at the Kenston High School cafeteria from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 8 and March 15.

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