Josh H's Blog Post
Hey, guys! My episode aired earlier this week and I wanted to share a little about my experience.
It was just last year that I moved back to Iowa from overseas, so I was shocked one morning to see that the Wheelmobile was coming to the Des Moines area, the closest it had ever been in my adult life (and certainly closer than when I lived in Spain!). So I grabbed my college roommate (hi, Anthony!) and we went to the event, hoping to get on stage but mostly looking to have a good time. And we did! Neither of us was called up that day, but as the universe would have it, my name was drawn for a second audition.
That audition was held on a Tuesday afternoon in a downtown hotel, where I crowded in to a conference room with about 50 other people. The email instructed us to dress business casual—with a black vest over a dress shirt and black jeans, I remember feeling like I looked like an out-of-work magician. The magic was there, though—during the mock game we played, when my named was called, I didn't know the puzzle but called out a C anyway. It was there, and the answer dawned on me! Still, we'd been told to show how we'd play the game, so just in case, I bought a vowel. In the puzzle! Another vowel! There! I'd like to solve the puzzle, I shouted, and I was correct—applause from the room! That day, I took home a baseball cap, but the real prize came nearly a month later, when I opened the mailbox to find an envelope from Wheel—I had been selected as a contestant!
The day of taping is still a blur. There was an intimidating amount of paperwork and legalese, but the team of contestant coordinators—really, the whole crew—was great and kept us motivated and answered any questions we had. Hair, makeup, local promos, soundchecks, instructions from staff, instructions from a lawyer—we had a lot to do that morning! For me, the most difficult part was learning to spin the wheel—you have to grab it just right, and I kept managing to grab it too low, or practically falling over when I let it go. Thankful that didn't happen during the show itself!
And as far as that show—what a crazy experience. So many of the people we see on TV are excellent players, but when you have to spin the wheel, keep the game moving, listen to Pat, look at the correct flipper, check the used letter board, etc.—the nerves can take over. But after a couple of cups of coffee, my early morning jitters became elation. I was so excited to be on set and taping! After getting the first two tossups (and being treated incredibly kindly by the wheel in the first round), I really hit my groove. By the time I made it to the bonus round, I had no idea I had collected over $37,000.
The bonus round...well, my luck was bound to run out at some point. "Person" was my category, and I was given a short puzzle with just an E. My picks added an A and ... nothing. Honestly, I was thrilled just to get the word HAPPY! And as my friends are very willing to remind me, it's not like I've got a WIFE to be upset I missed the puzzle!
I've been asked for a lot of advice as far as getting on the show goes, and I'm happy to say that there are no secrets. Be persistent! I went to a Wheelmobile event, but several people I met at my second audition and during filming had sent in a video. You never know when your time might come! And when you get to the audition, follow the contestant coordinators' instructions, and HAVE FUN! I found that by chatting with and cheering on my fellow audtioners and contestants, I could dissipate my nervous energy and enjoy the moment—and that really paid off when I was on stage!
All-in-all, I had the experience of a lifetime, from auditioning to filming, then watching with friends and family to my (forthcoming!) trip to Jamaica. I'll never forget this, especially seeing as my friends have immortalized every goofy face I made on national TV. I'd love to give a shoutout to Holly and Debbie, who were fun, gracious, and awesome players who just didn't get tons of opportunities, as well as everyone in the Wheel family who made this such a special experience for me. If you're thinking about trying out for the show, or you've done so already but not gotten on, give it a(nother) shot! You've got nothing to lose, but an impossibly cool experience and some amazing prizes to gain.