Kim W's Blog Post
Hello fellow Wheel of Fortune lovers! My name is Kim, and I am originally from Lake Zurich, Illinois and now living in Portland, Oregon. I have always been an avid Wheel watcher- my parents and I would sit down together after dinner to watch the show every night. I would constantly tell my mom and dad “I should be on this show!” My first job after college was an entertainment host on cruise ships, so game shows became a big part of my life- I could never have imagined that I would be on my favorite one!
When I heard that the Wheelmobile was coming to the Chinook Winds casino on the Oregon coast, I was READY! I couldn’t find any friends who were available to go with me, so I drove out by myself and figured if I didn’t get on stage, it would just be a fun adventure to add to the books. I made friends with a lovely lady in line, named Sonia- Hi Sonia! We sat together for the stage show and she was almost as excited as I was when my name was the second one pulled out of the drum. I was shaking and terrified when I finally got up there, but I ended up solving the puzzle (IDENTICAL TWINS) and doing a little heel click when all was said and done.
About three months later, I got an email from the Wheel of Fortune contestant department inviting me to an official audition for the show! It was at a hotel in downtown Portland. We played mock games of Wheel, and the contestant producers were looking for people who could call sensible, logical letters (think RSTLNE) with good volume and excitement in their voices. Once everyone had a turn, we took a test, which was quite hard. After grading our tests, the producers called the names of 20 people who would stay and continue on in the audition and I was #19- Phew! After playing more mini games and watching some hilarious blooper footage from the show, we were dismissed and the waiting game began! They said if we were selected, we would receive a letter in the mail within 2 weeks.
By the time the audition was over, I was bursting with excitement about possibly being an actual contestant. Everyone in my life, from my coworkers to family and friends was hoping for that letter with me. I checked the mail twice a day, every day, and each time there was no letter I was a little bummed- but not ready to give up. Then one Saturday my two best friends and I were on our way back from lunch when we stopped at the mailbox. I screamed like I had never screamed before and ran around my parking lot waving the letter. I was in! About a month later, I was notified by email that I had a taping date! I would fly to Los Angeles two weeks later to film my episode.
My parents flew in from Chicago to be a part of my cheering section and were coaching me in the days leading up. I think my dad, Joe, was more nervous than I was by the time the day came around. My amazing mom helped me choose the perfect outfit; I could feel the pride pouring out of them. I also flew in with some wonderful family friends, Heidi and her two daughters, Greta and Elsa. Those girls were the embodiment of excitement, and I believe the audience applause crew had to shush them at one point! Dad dropped me off at the studio at 7:30am and wished me luck. I got into Sony Studios with all my fellow contestants, they were just as excited and nervous as I was. We went over the rules, categories and game strategies and practiced spinning the Wheel. When we were standing around the Wheel, Vanna White came running in to wish us luck! She was so nice and just as smiley as on TV- and wearing sweats with her hair in a bun- she really is just like us! We all got our makeup done so we were “HD ready” and it was time to play Wheel!
I ended up being on the 3rd show that taped that day and stood in the 3rd (blue) spot on the Wheel. My birthday was exactly one week before the show and my lucky number just happens to be three- a good sign!
I watched the first 2 shows of the day from the audience with the rest of the anxious contestants and this is when the nerves set in. “Okay, just breathe Kim” kept running through my mind. My heart was racing and I was focused on not falling off the stairs behind the Wheel when I finally got up there. Once it was my turn, everything fell into place. My fellow contestants were so nice and supportive, the producers would cheer us on and remind us to shout our letters loud and clear.
Pat was hilarious! He would joke with us between puzzles and during commercial breaks, and after the first puzzle, I had calmed down and was enjoying the whole experience. It was a ball!
Ever since the taping, regardless of the outcome, being on Wheel of Fortune is a highlight of my life. I will tell complete strangers that “I was on Wheel of Fortune!” and they seem pretty impressed!
My advice for future contestants: don’t stress! Enjoy the experience and everyone you meet along the way. Use the used letter board, take some risks, and make sure to stretch your shoulders before you go up there- the Wheel is HEAVY! And if you don’t get “the letter” right away after the audition- don’t give up hope!