This Week's Contestant
POSTED on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
Perhaps my attention should've been on the game, but I was immediately drawn to something that caught my eye as I walked out and took my place behind the red position. It was the Dalmatian. You remember the Dalmatian from the early Wheel of Fortune days when contestants purchased prizes after each round? There was a Dalmatian on stage, and this was that Dalmatian, just sitting off to the side like it was there watching the game. Something about that dog set me at ease and made me smile. It reminded me of watching the show as a kid with my mom. This was it, and it was real!
Cue the music"Ladies and Gentlemen, Pat Sajak and Vanna White." Here we go, it's showtime! Here comes Pat walking up to me, getting closer, closeroh yeah, get ready and play the game! The first Toss-Up was a blur, and I had to remind myself I wasn't watching my TV. I actually had to press the button on my device. I was too late with that one. During the first puzzle, I knew the answer early, but was trying to "play" the numbers game and it almost bit me. I had a long pause when it was my turn to guess a consonant. I tried to rack up some money, but almost drew a blank on which letter to call. Thankfully, I got the letter off and threw away the rest of my nerves. I solved the puzzle, and reminded myself to have fun! It was a good feeling to get one under my belt. During the commercial breaks, Pat was SUPER personable. He reminded us the hardest part was over and now it's time to have fun making some money. We got some water to drink, some more touchups from our makeup artist, and a few encouraging words from our contestant coordinators.
Round 2, Round 3, another toss up in there somewhere, but I specifically remember the Prize Puzzle. I promised myself I wouldn't forget it. So, I guessed a few consonants and intentionally played the numbers game this time and it worked. I saved the big letters for the most money. "PERFECT, PARALLEL, PARKING". I waited for the bigger bucks to call the R, L, and P, then solved to get the Prize trip to the Caribbean. I was on a roll with the puzzles and the letters just seemed to pop out at me. I don't remember all the puzzles, but I remember Pat joking during a commercial break to the other Dads to grab their devices for the final Toss-Up. "Go ahead and grab your detonators there so you can blow this guy up." I felt a little bad for taking the spotlight, but my bucket list dream was coming true!
On to the Bonus Round. I remember seeing that Dalmatian again on my way to the Bonus Wheel with Pat. More water, more makeup, and more coaching. Then, it was one on one with Pat during the commercial break. I told him about how my wife was on the show 3 years prior and won, so the pressure was on me to do better than she did. I told him I couldn't let her earn more money on WheelI'd hear about it the rest of my life from everybody. He genuinely laughed. Bring on the puzzle, I'm ready! I spun the WheelI love the sound of that Wheel spinning. I practiced a gazillion times at home which letters I'd call. I stuck with my guns and called something other than C, M, and D. I remember the P and the life saver was the vowel. I called an i' and boy am I glad I did. I struggled the first few seconds, but then it came to me. "BIKINI TOP". I remember thinking that and saying no, that can't be it. That seems odd for National TV. But I shouted it out and got it! My wife, son, mom, and sister came running out to celebrate the $30,000 prize. How fitting I got a huge hug from my son for Dad's Week. But the thing I remember most was Pat looking at my wife and asking her, "Did he beat you?" "Oh, Yeah," she replied! Mission Accomplished!
After the bonus round, I briefly visited with Pat and Vanna. I remember them telling me how rare it is to have a husband and wife appear on the show separately, let alone both win the Bonus Round. Then, I was whisked away to sign my prize paper work. Normally, my hands are calm and steady from my training as an Air Force pilot. However, I could barely sign my name on the papers because they were shaking so much. It was so surreal to me. The show started promptly at 12:00 and I was walking out of the studio by 12:38. My life was changed in such a short timeframe. I can't wait for a great getaway with my wife to the Caribbean and being completely debt-free when we receive the money. What a day, what a journey, and what a blessing! Over $48,000 in cash and prizes. Dream come truecheck! Bucket list itemcheck! Thanks to my contestant coaches, the makeup artists, and the best coach along the way-my wife!