This Week's Contestant
POSTED on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
The day of the show arrived and I left Hemet, California around 5:00a.m., planning for any traffic I might run into. I arrived an hour early and was able to eat some breakfast and I tried to calm my nerves with my wife's help. I arrived at the studio and was lead into the contestant room. It was fun to hear where everyone was from and we seemed to gel as a group. We were instructed on taxes, rules of the game, and tips of how to play the game well. The Wheel of Fortune contestant coordinators made me feel at ease and they gave me a lot more confidence. I was really excited about the refrigerator being stocked with sodas and water, and they had snacks and fruit for us to munch on. In addition, they provided lunch for us!
After going over paperwork and rules in walked Vanna White! We all applauded and she made us feel at home and wished us the best of luck. She looked great and I can't believe she's been with the show for thirty years!
We were then led into the studio and they let us spin the wheel and play a game. I was surprised at the size of the wheel and how much fun it was to spin. On my practice spin I landed on the $2500 space. I felt that maybe this would be my lucky day. When everyone had had a chance to spin the wheel they put us into groups of who would be on the shows together. I was randomly selected to be on the first taping! I was so nervous I wanted to watch a few tapings before my own, but it didn't work out that way and I tried to calm my nerves. I was lead to the make-up room and my microphone was put into place.
My wife and friends had no idea which episode I was going to be on. When I walked out to the studio my wife saw that I was on the first episode and her chest starting pounding with excitement. I was on Spa Giveaway Week and my featured trip was to Italy. If there is one place in the world that I would love to visit, it would be Italy. I felt fortunate about my show having this featured price. I was hoping that I could win this trip.
After the rest of the contestants arrived on stage they made a few more adjustments and in walk Pat and Vanna! I was in a fog and as much as I didn't want to be nervous, I couldn't help it. After the first Toss Up Pat asked us about ourselves and I was so nervous I forget to mention my sons' names. Pat did a great job of trying to making us feel comfortable and I appreciated his humor and friendly demeanor.
During the next Toss Up I began to ease my nerves and to my surprise I was able to solve the puzzle. I told myself that you're at least walking away with $2000 and that was great! I could go home a winner.
It was my turn to spin the wheel. I'm a pretty emotional person and I have a hard time holding back my emotions. You can tell with each bankrupt or close call I didn't hold back. Pat made me acutely aware of my grunts and groans. When I was spinning the wheel for the third puzzle you can tell that I hesitate to spin the wheel one more time. But I remember in Pat's tips of how to play the game this is your chance for free money, it's o.k. to take a risk. I knew the puzzle but decided to take one more chance. I'm sure glad that I did because Italy would have never happened. Also, I was able to call out the letter Z, a letter that is often neglected on the show.
With each puzzle my confidence continued to grow. The wheel was on my side. I did spin a few bankrupts, but my turn kept coming up. When I won the prize puzzle to Costa Rica I was glad that Pat gave me an opportunity to say my sons' names. They would have never let me live this down if he hadn't.
Luck was on my side that day. I was able to solve all the puzzles with exception of the first and last puzzles. My wife keeps reminding me that I should have said C during the last puzzle, but you can't win them all. However, I had accumulated a total of $31,200 in cash and prizes! I couldn't believe it! I was heading to the bonus round.
When I got to the bonus round I could remember that my brother said to call F, W and H. He said that these letters come up more than you think. When I saw the puzzle I knew it, and to my surprise two of my brother's letters were in the puzzle. I can say that my Wheel of Fortune journey was WORTH THE WAIT. Another $30,000 was a huge blessing to my family.
My wife and I have made a list of things that we would like to get for the house, from a new vacuum cleaner to new flooring. However, we plan on giving 10% to my church, paying off our car, and building our savings account. But we do plan on giving our boys a little of it to buy something special that they would like. They had to wait over two months before they knew the results of the show.
I loved my time on Wheel of Fortune! It is an experience I wish everyone could enjoy. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with the opportunity. I would do it all over again. Thanks to the Wheel of Fortune family!
P.S. Thanks for the great name tag. I plan on wearing it as part of my Halloween costume.