This Week's Contestant
It's tape day! Deciding what to wear to the taping took on a life of its own. Wheel requests that all contestants have two outfits lined up in case there is an issue with your first choice. My family immediately thought my full sequined blazer was bling appropriate for Vanna White to wear, but not for a contestant to wear. I immediately realized they were right. Yikes! I quickly found myself with just one outfit. I hope the contestant coordinators like my one outfit. Otherwise, I was bringing out the bling!
I ever so carefully got into my family approved Wheel outfit and headed down to the lobby with my non-family approved bling blazer in tow to wait for the Wheel shuttle. Even though the shuttle came just after 7am to pick up the contestants, I was mentally still be on east coast time. That's 10am to me!
I jumped on the shuttle, waived bye to my proud family, and immediately started talking to the other contestants. We were one very happy group living a dream come true. We pulled up to Sony Studios and out came a contestant coordinator, right on queue to welcome us. She needed to pinch us all as we were floating on clouds.
In the studio we all went! In a relatively small waiting room, we reviewed the rules of the game, signed waivers, taped promos for the show, had our make-up done by fabulous professionals who also work on the Jeopardy show, and took part in a random drawing that would determine which show we would be on and our contestant placement. I got show 6 which was the last show to be taped that day. Then, in walked the one and only Vanna White to wish us well. Could this day get any more exciting?
We were then sent as a group to check out the live studio. It was amazing to walk around the set. The wheel was smaller than it looks on TV and shockingly very, very heavy. The puzzle board is so much brighter and bigger in person that I thought I was starring at the sun. The used letter board was surprisingly small and located high and far from where the contestants are positioned. The screen that tells the contestants what money and prizes they've won was low and to the left of where the contestants stand. It was all exciting and equally overwhelming to see for the first time.
All the contestants then had a chance to practice spinning the wheel and solve mock puzzles. The contestant coordinators drilled us to help get the jitters out of our systems. Trust me; they know what they're doing. These people are perfect for their positions. I was so nervous during the mock round that I called a "Y" in a puzzle when there was no logical reason to call it. I was quickly corrected by the coordinator and found myself thankful they were drilling us during these trial runs.
At this point, I was happy to not be in the first group taping that day. The contestants get to sit in a specific section of the audience and watch all the shows taped ahead of theirs. This gave me time to settle some of my nerves and get comfortable with the set-up.
After a good 5 hours of watching the 5 shows ahead of mine, it was finally my turn to tape show 6, America's Game. My family, who were not allowed to know ahead of time which show I would be on, would finally see me walking out to take my position in the 2nd contestant spot (aka the yellow wedge).
I was like, "This is it! I really made it." I took a breath, Pat and Vanna took their positions, and the game began. I felt totally prepared and was still making sure to soak in every minute of this exciting experience.
The first toss-up puzzle started and it was over just as quickly as it began. I may have been prepared, but I couldn't beat x-ray eyes no matter how hard I studied. No problem! There are many more puzzles to come.
After talking to Pat during the contestant intros about my career, my hobbies, and being a Celtics fan, it was time for the second toss-up puzzle. The second toss-up started and it was over just as quickly as the first. It was x-ray eyes again. I was left speechless, but I was still confident in my abilities.
In one of the next two puzzles, I landed on half a Kia and immediately thought, "I definitely want to go for the full Kia! I'm here to have fun and fun I will have!" Fate apparently had other plans as I found myself on a bankrupt. Bye, bye Kia!
Two bankrupts into the game, I found myself with $0 in my bank. Ugh Oh. I may just be one of those consolation winners. It was clear that our group was good. The puzzles were being solved right and left in what felt like record times.
Luckily, so many puzzles were solved that I was able to start a 7th puzzle. I called all the right letters, finally avoided the bankrupts, and was able to solve the puzzle for some well deserved mullah! I could have solved it earlier, but I wanted to at least try to make more money than the $1,000 consolation prize. I also didn't want to risk calling all the letters in the puzzle because I proved to be good at getting bankrupts. Goal attained!
With a $1,600 all cash take home prize, I was probably the happiest person ever to win a relatively small amount on the show. With my winnings, I will buy my husband a new camera for our 10 year wedding anniversary, which is just a few days after my episode will air. I will also buy my family a special dinner to reminisce on our exciting adventure.
I'm truly thankful my family had the opportunity to share in this unbelievable experience. We will talk about our Wheel experience forever. That's priceless for me. Thanks Wheel for the memories!