Donna L's Blog Post
The year was 1986 and I was 2 years old, being watched by my grandparents. As a 2 year old, you don’t have much choice of what’s being watched on the TV. Therefore, my Wheel journey began! Over the years growing up, I continued to watch the show that I loved for longer than I could remember. Not only did I enjoy watching it, I was good. And I know everyone says that, but I knew deep down I had a knack for all things Wheel and told myself I have GOT to get on that show. So during college, every so often I would apply online. Nothing ever came of it, and I graduated and moved on into the real world. Fast forward a few years and an email pops up asking if I’m still interested in applying for the show. Um excuse me? YES OF COURSE! So, I made a goofy embarrassing winning video to go along with my application and sent it on in. When I received an invitation to come audition at the Palmer House in Chicago, I was ECSTATIC! This was about as good as it was being on the show in my mind. I never really thought anything would move further than that audition, so I was ready to check Wheel off my list. The audition went well, but you can never really tell. I left with my treasured Wheel pencil, a headache from smiling, and stinging palms from non-stop enthusiastic clapping!
Two weeks went by, passing the date in which I was supposed to receive a letter in the mail. I was disappointed, but not shocked. Heck, I had auditioned for Wheel of Fortune AND had a souvenir pencil! One day I came home late from work with about fifty bags in my hands, fumbling with my keys trying to get the mail. As I practically broke the mailbox open, one single letter falls into my hands with the return name of WHEEL OF FORTUNE! I raced upstairs, ripped open that letter, and started screaming and jumping with excitement that I was selected as a participant!
Now here is where I should mention that I work in a retirement community, and Wheel of Fortune is sort of a favorite among the residents. Words cannot explain their excitement. It’s all they talked about, every day, non-stop, for weeks and weeks. So I had a fan base growing.
A few weeks later, joined by my sister and friend, we headed to sunny California (missing the Chicago blizzard by 2 days thankfully) and started what would be one of the best trips of my lifetime.
Being on Wheel of Fortune was a BLUR! There is so much going on, and you’re just trying to keep it together and not end up on YouTube fumbling. But Wheel was also the GREATEST and COOLEST experience. From the excitement, meeting the other contestants, meeting their friends and families, the fantastic staff and crew who made you feel special and not like they do this same routine day in and day out, getting to hang out with PAT AND VANNA, and living out my lifelong dream of being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. It is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Now I have the best “interesting fact” for when I have to state my name and something interesting about me during an icebreaker game.