Drew S's Blog Post
I have been watching Wheel of Fortune since its very first show 32 years ago while I was still on active duty in the military. My wife, Lisa, started watching Wheel in college when her and dorm mates would gather in the common room and watch it together. My first attempt to become a contestant on Wheel came when I was a Chief Petty Officer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. I was able to contact the right people and they told me they would be doing a contestant search in the Washington, D.C. area and they would be in touch with me about where to show up. Apparently things got discombobulated because ultimately I didn’t get to try out. I attempted to become a contestant a couple other times but never got very far. That did not dampen my enthusiasm for the show, however, and my wife and I have seldom missed a show since.
It was during June 2014 when my wife was out in Rangeley, Maine visiting her family and I was here in Minnesota holding down the old homestead. I heard on the local news that the Wheelmobile was going to be visiting the Grand Casino in Hinkley, Minnesota and since I was on my own for a while I decided it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. So off to the casino I went. There were about 700 people in the audience hoping to get up on stage, and as I sat there I was just thinking of leaving figuring they wouldn’t call my name when – voila! My name was called and I not only got up on stage but solved the puzzle as well. That in itself was pretty exciting and after it was over they said if I was selected they would be in touch.
After a few months I figured I hadn’t made it, but then I got an e-mail inviting me to join the Wheel contestant search at the St. Paul Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota and was told I could bring along my wife and kids for support. When I showed up they actually had my wife and I compete as a team and everyone said we were a shoe-in, thinking we did great. When four weeks had passed and we had heard nothing we had given up. Then, out of the blue, the phone call came. We were selected to be on Wheel of Fortune! Our entire family on both sides was so happy and excited for us. The only bad part is that my dear Mother and my wife’s Father were also avid Wheel Watchers but they both passed away two years ago. It would have been so wonderful to have had them see us make it on Wheel of Fortune.
We actually taped our appearance on Wheel on January 15th – my wife Lisa’s birthday. It was simply a fabulous experience. We had no delusions about winning huge amounts of money. We just knew that as a team the minimum we would get would defer the costs associated with going out to California so it was worth it just to get to have one of our dreams come true. I can scratch that off my bucket list now. I have to say that everyone we met out there who was associated with the show was super nice and very professional. Special kudos to Jackie, from the contestant team, who ‘held our hands’ and guided us through everything. I also have to say that all of our fellow contestants were great folks; just every day people like us who were actually getting to feel the thrill of being on Wheel of Fortune.
Meeting Pat and Vanna was really an honor, although I have to say that after a certain point I was so pumped up I don’t really recall much of what I said. I hope I didn’t leave a bad impression with them. They were really super folks. I really can’t praise everyone connected with Wheel enough. We love you all and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for not only giving us this experience but for sharing it with us as well. The bummer is I forgot to hug Vanna and Pat!
So, if you really want to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune – DON’T GIVE UP and should you finally make it on the show – BUY VOWELS! Very important! That and don’t let the fact that you are going to be on television distract you from you goal – WIN! Just remember to have lots of fun whether you win or not because hey, you got to be on Wheel of Fortune! What a blast!