This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||World Class Spas|
The day I taped the show it was extremely hot in the studio. I think they were having problems with the air conditioning as it was the first taping day of the new season so the studio hadn't been used in a while. The crowd was into it and the Contestant Coordinators had prepared us very well, this was going to be really fun. I was exhausted, nervous and sweating when Pat and Vanna walked from behind the puzzle board to start the show. We had our buzzers in hand for the first Toss Up puzzle and another contestant buzzed in and solved it before I knew what it was, one down I thought. The introductions were funny, Pat was joking with us and keeping it light and it helped to ease my nervousness.
Before I knew it, the two Toss Up puzzles were solved and so was the first regular puzzle and I hadn't spun the wheel or buzzed in. This was certainly not how I had planned it and I began to get frustrated, I kept telling myself that it was a long game and I needed to settle down and relax. The game is much, much tougher to play in person. It happens very fast and it is hard to maintain your strategy while playing. During the commercial break, one of the Contestant Coordinators settled me down and got me on track. I was second to spin on the fourth puzzle and when it was time for me to spin the wheel, I knew the puzzle. I figured I would spin to get some money because I was losing at that point and that's when it happened, I landed on the Million Dollar Wedge!!!! I guessed a letter correctly and got to pick up the wedge and put it on my "wedge ledge". For whatever stupid reason, I decided to spin the wheel one more time and got lucky when I didn't land on a "Bankrupt" or "Lose A Turn". I solved the puzzle and I was one step closer to becoming a millionaire.
I spun first on the 5th puzzle and had $10,500 before I knew it. It was also a prize puzzle so I knew how important it was to solve this puzzle and bank the dollar value of the trip. After buying some vowels, I guessed a letter that wasn't in the puzzle and lost control of the wheel. I was hoping I would get another chance and after the contestant next to me took a gamble on the mystery wedge and got Bankrupt, I had my opportunity. It wasn't too long before I knew the puzzle and solved it, "Two All-Day Ski Lift Tickets"!!! I obviously knew that I had won a ski trip, but it was ironic because I had just injured my knee so badly for the second time that I would most likely never ski again. I had only skied a handful of times since my first injury and didn't enjoy it so when Pat asked me if I skied, I was honest and told him, "No". This got a good laugh out of Pat and the crowd.
I lost the final Toss Up puzzle and I was now 0 for 3 on them. I was always so good on the Toss Ups watching at home, but it's a whole different ballgame while playing. I still had a comfortable lead and although I didn't manage to solve any more puzzles, I was still the winner after the final puzzle. I thought our show went really well to this point, all 3 contestants won some money and all day we had been cheering each other on. I still had the Million Dollar Wedge and I knew that if I could solve the bonus round puzzle, I could be going home a millionaire.
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity and a couple practice spins on the bonus wheel, it was time for me to spin for real and I was hoping I could land on the million dollar envelope. I went into the show planning that I would guess P, H and I as 3 of my 4 letters in the bonus round if I made it and I would choose the other letter while I was there. I ended up choosing a D as my final letter, but that didn't help me. Pat told me he thought I had a good chance as the letters were flipping over and once they were all turned over, there was no doubt that it was HAPPY HOUR!!! What a perfect puzzle for me I thought, I enjoy a nice cold beer now and then. Now it was the moment of truth, I almost couldn't take the suspense, I had a 1 in 24 chance that there was $1,000,000 in that envelope. Pat opened the envelope and there was $30,000 inside, my wife ran out to celebrate with me and we were so excited. Sure there wasn't a million dollars in the envelope, but $30,000 was just fine with me. My wife and I went to celebrate quickly before we had to hop on a red-eye flight home, we couldn't believe what had just happened.
My time since the show has been incredible. We had a big watching party at my house with friends and family that was so much fun. We've had so many people watch the show and ask about it, it's been great. I plan on putting most of the money away in Aiden's college education fund and using a little bit as a down payment on a new car. I figure I have to spoil myself a little. The experience of being on the show was beyond words. I had so much fun and I thank all of the hard working people at the show for making it such a great experience. It was amazing to see what goes into taping Wheel of Fortune.