Kevin L's Blog Post
Dream Big is what everyone does when they watch Wheel Of Fortune. "O how I wish I could go on the show, solve the puzzle with the $10,000 wedge, have both halves of the car, it be the Prize Puzzle, have the "final spin" land on the $5000 space and solve it with a large sum, then solve the Bonus Puzzle and win the $100,000 or the million dollar prize." This is what potential Wheel contestants dream of doing. Everyone wants to walk away with lot of cash and prizes. No one wants to be that token contestant who ends up with only $1000 because someone else hogged the Wheel all evening or all they got when they spun was "lose a turn", "bankrupt", or they called the wrong consonant or bought the wrong vowel. Playing Wheel on the set is so much different than playing at home. There is the awe of just being on the set, meeting Pat and Vanna, doing the show before a live audience, keeping up with the letter and vowel board and making a spilt decision in little more than 3 seconds or risk being buzzed and losing your turn.
But even more difficult than that is just getting through the steps it takes to get an audition. I have read where people have tried out many times or that it took years before they finally got on the show. Wheel officials will tell you that they receive over a million applications each year to try and get on the show and that fewer than 600 people actually make it. I must have been one of the lucky ones.
In little more than five months I: 1. Sent in my application and audition video in April, 2. Got a letter asking me to appear for a private audition in Dallas two weeks later, 3. Went to the audition in May and thought I didn't do well enough to get the letter telling me that I had made it, 4. Got the letter two and half weeks later in June, 5. Got an email the end of July asking me to appear on the show in August, turn down that request due to a cruise that I was going on too close to the film date, 6. Got a second email two days after returning from our cruise at the end of August asking if I could come and do the show in September, 7. Booked our flights and hotel and went and completed the whole process by September 23rd. The hardest part was waiting for the airing of the show on TV so that I could finally talk about. It finally aired on December 7th.
In the end, it is an experience that went by way too fast and one that I will never able to get to do again. Once you have been on Wheel, that is it! No more chances. That is why so many people dream big of going on the show and winning a lot of money. I can honestly say that I had the time of my life and did quite well on the show. I ended up making it all the way to the Bonus Round by winning $18,750 which included a trip to Costa Rica. I didn't solve the puzzle that would have won me an extra $34,000 dollars. The phrase that I could not solve to win it was: DREAM BIG!
What I hope will be my Wheel Of Fortune claim to fame is:
In the Bonus Round after a player spins, Pat asks the person, who spun, to take the card from the wheel and hand it to him. If the person is a woman, he takes them by the hand and walks them over to the spot where they will attempt to solve the puzzle. He doesn't take the person by the hand if it is a man. So before my time came to spin the Bonus Wheel, I asked the producer if it would be okay for me to ask Pat to take my hand and walk me over to the designated spot. He looked at me and grinned and said: “O please do!” Pat then walked over and asked what we were plotting. The producer just smiled and said: “you'll see”. After I spun the Wheel and handed Pat my card, he turned to walk away. I asked him: you mean you are not going to take my hand? He looked surprised, came back, took me by the hand, walk us to our spot and then asked if was okay to let go of my hand. I responded, with a smile on my face, “Yes you may”.
So I will now go down in Wheel history as the first male contestant to have Pat Sajak take their hand and walk him to the spot on the floor in front of the puzzle board. Everyone in the studio got a huge laugh from it. I don't know if it made Pat's day, but it made mine and I won't soon forget it.
P.S. I also got my hug from Vanna.