Owasso brothers compete on show
Three brothers from Owasso will display their knowledge of the Bible before a national audience at 9 p.m. May 2 on the TV show, The American Bible Challenge.
Jesse, Joshua and Daniel Wagner will match wits with other teams as they play for up to $140,000 in prize money for their designated charity. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is the host of the show, now in its second season.
Jesse is a marketing major at Oral Roberts University and Joshua is a New Testament major. Younger brother Daniel Wagner is a senior in high school with plans to attend ORU next school year.
Jesse Wagner said the brothers were interested in being on the show and they found out about a regional audition in Dallas. They went to Dallas and were tested and interviewed. Part of the audition was answering 30 written questions.
Eighteen teams from eight regional audition sites made it to the show.
“We told them about ourselves and who we were playing for,” Jesse said.
In the American Bible Challenge, teams don’t pocket prize money – it goes to their designated Christian charity. For the Wagner Brothers, it was for Owasso’s Wagner Ministries International, an international ministry headed by their father, Kevin Wagner, a former pastor. The goal of Wagner Ministries International “is to bring Jesus Christ’s love, forgiveness and healing to people in the poorest places on Earth.”
They auditioned in November and got a call in January saying they had made the show. Then they were flown to Los Angeles for five days (including a taping session), all expenses paid.
“It was a blast,” Jesse Wagner said. “Everyone was very nice. We got to talk with Jeff Foxworthy.”
The Wagner brothers have each memorized 10-14 books in the New Testament. They have won the Bible Quiz Bowl four times.
“We felt very confident,” said Jesse said about their knowledge of the Bible. They are not supposed to reveal how well they did until the show airs. “We did have to do some study in the Old Testament.”
“The Wagner brothers not only give great performances on this show, they are doing wonderful ministry work throughout the world. I hope all of Oklahoma tunes in to cheer them on,” said Foxworthy.
Jesse Wagner said the brothers are planning a big watch party, probably at ORU.
The show opens with 18 three-person teams – three teams in each of the first six episodes of the season. The winning teams from each of those six episodes advance to play in two semi-final games. During the final round, one team will be named champions of The American Bible Challenge.
The show is seen on Cox Cable Channel 171, channel 233 on DirecTV and channel 116 on the DISH Network.
The American Bible Challenge is produced by RelativityREAL for GSN, with RelativityREAL’s Tom Forman (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) serving as executive producer on the project along with Janelle Fiorito. Nick Stuart and Maura Dunbar of Odyssey Networks are consulting producers. Odyssey Networks is the country’s largest multi-faith coalition dedicated to producing and distributing media that creates understanding among people of different beliefs and perspectives.
Foxworthy is a producer. Embassy Row’s Michael Davies as well as Parallel Entertainment’s J.P. Williams and Jennifer Novak are executive producers.