Christina H's Blog Post
I have always been a fan of Wheel of Fortune and played along when it came on the television. I even have a Wheel of Fortune game on my ipad, and I play it regularly on my downtime. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that the Wheelmobile was coming to a casino close to my home for the weekend! My daughter was running a 50 mile race on the first day, so I couldn’t attend, but I took my sunburned self down to that casino on day 2 and waited in line for hours to get in. I met a group of really cool Wheel watchers and we sat together during the audition show. None of us got on, but we had an absolute blast. We loved it so much that we decided to stand in line together again to do the next show. We didn’t make it on stage that time either, but we got some great photos with the cardboard cutouts of Pat and Vanna!
I didn’t really expect to hear anything after my tryout, because I never made it onto the stage, but while I was away on a business trip, I got an email from Wheel of Fortune asking me to come to a second audition. I was excited, but I was still in disbelief, thinking that maybe everyone got that email. When I got there, I saw a small room of about 75 people waiting to play the mock game (by the way, these games were so much fun!). After a written test, the room was pretty much cut in half and we played another game. When we were done, they told us they would let us know in the next two weeks if we made it or not. I drove back home and my husband and I went over to my mother in law’s to hang out and talk about how the audition went. While I was there, a representative from Wheel of Fortune called me and asked if I could come to LA and tape in two weeks! I couldn’t believe it! We were all screaming and I told them of course I could, and they said they would send me a packet of info within the next couple of days. When I got off the phone, we decided that the four family members that would come with me would be my son, my niece, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law.
Arriving in LA was surreal, and it still felt like I was caught up in a whirlwind. We scheduled tons of touristy things to do and had a blast exploring the city before we even got to Wheel of Fortune. I was so thrilled to even have the experience of meeting Pat and Vanna and see the behind the scenes stuff, that playing the game was such a bonus! Vanna came in to see us during hair and makeup and she looked so beautiful, even without her makeup on! When it was time to pick the balls to determine which number show we would be on, I told my fellow contestant not to pick number one, because I wanted to see some of the shows first to get a feel for how it would go. Of course, I was kidding because the chosen contestants pick the number of show randomly, but guess which one he ended up picking? You guessed it! Numero Uno!
When I finally started taping my show, I totally flubbed up my intro, but Pat just joked around and made it easier to get through it. I knew before I came that I wasn’t good at the toss-ups, and of course I didn’t win any of those. In fact, I didn’t do too well during the first half of the show. I loved every minute of it though and our coach, Teddy, made it so exciting for us and encouraged us the whole time. Finally, it came time for the prize puzzle and I landed on the Express train. Pat gave his spiel about it and of course I said that I wanted to go for it! I started calling letters and by the end of the puzzle I was shouting the letters because I knew that I was going to win it! When it was all said and done, I had about 8,000 dollars cash, plus a trip to Barbados, because it was the prize puzzle. I probably got way too excited and after the game, I yelled to Teddy that I was going to Barbados!
Because, I had racked up so much money on the express train, I won the chance to go to the bonus round. I was still in disbelief about the magnitude of my win, I literally just followed Pat’s body double around and did what he told me to do. I practiced spinning the bonus reel, and during that time (my family told me later) my family was being ushered down to the stage just in case I won. Finally, Pat came out and let me spin the wheel and brought me over to my spot on the stage. As soon as Vanna revealed the letters, I knew the second word was “dishes”. I picked my letters and I thought to myself, if this isn’t “baking dishes” I have no idea what it is. So, when my time started, I asked “baking dishes”? And Pat was like, “are you sure you don’t want more time?” I still didn’t realize that I had won until he opened the card and showed me my brand new Lincoln SUV!!! Then my family came out and took me to my car and we all remember acting like doofuses so we will see when it airs how silly we all look!
At the end of the show, Pat told me I had cute kids, and I agreed. As I was leaving, the other contestants were all congratulating me and giving me high fives. My final total was over 62,000 dollars and I watch Wheel of Fortune every night to compare my winnings to other contestants. It makes me feel good to know that I did so well on the show. It was a great time, and the winning was just a bonus!