"The Principals and Allied Waste Team" of four women beat 24 other teams at the chamber's annual quiz competition, held in the council room of Verdugo Hills Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
"We are all very surprised," said team member Susanne Passantino, after the cheers from the announcement had died down. "We looked at each of the questions as a whole group and we answered them all together. It was a real consensus effort!"
The effort went into pop culture and quirky multiple-choice trivia, including "Which artist has more people seen perform live?" and "Which brand of wristwatch does President Bush wear?"
Crescenta Valley Town Council, Crescenta Valley Insurance and J's Maintenance shared second place. Glendale Unified School District, which included Supt. Michael Escalante, boasted three team members with doctoral degrees, came in 11th place.
The team had auctioned off a handful of baseball caps, emblazoned with the logo "Thinking Caps" for $20 and one of the purchasers of these lucky charms was Crescenta Valley Town Council member Steve Pierce, who was joined by council member Danette Erickson, vice-president Sharon Raghavachary and her husband Saty.
"It's the first time Steve has entered the competition and he was up all night studying," Erickson said of her husband, jokingly adding that "Unfortunately, the cap didn't help ? he contributed nothing."
The teams of up to six men and women, had no more than 20 minutes to answer 68 multiple-choice questions, all compiled by Mary Pinola, who founded the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce's Educational Endowment Fund in 2002.
All the funds raised from the entry fees and the auction of goodie baskets will go toward the fund, said Pinola. Grants are then made to nonprofit community groups from the interest gained on the endowment fund, she said.
"When we first started, the event was very small," Pinola said. "We only had 10 or 11 teams and this time we had about 26. I like to think they come back because of the jokes I put in the quiz, but I do believe that they come back because they have fun."
The event usually raises between $5,000 to $6,000 but this year's amount is likely to be slightly larger thanks to a $1,000 donation from Ira Hart, branch manager of event sponsor California National Bank in La Crescenta, who is also the chamber's honorary mayor.
"I found the questions tricky," said Hart, whose team came in ninth and was beaten by arch rivals, the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, which finished fifth. "It's been a lively event," he added. "And I'll definitely come back next year."