Marc H's Blog Post
If you watched last night, here’s my story of how I got there and my experience on the show:
Nearly three years ago my two young daughters urged me to try out for Wheel of Fortune. I had never considered it but agreed to submit a video. Couldn’t hurt. I figured it would get lumped in a pile of a million other videos and never expected anything to come from it.
Months later I got an email inviting me to the New York City tryouts. So I went. Buried in the middle of the room with about 80 other hopeful contestants I waited to hear my name called so I could shout a letter and show off my puzzle-solving skills. It was a long wait. Others had already been called twice before it was finally my turn.
“T!” I shouted confidently.
“There’s no T.”
I sat back down. Was that it? After one letter I’d be done? Eventually I got another chance and fared better. Then it was time for the written test, where I did well. After a short break, they kept a small group of us around and we broke into groups to play a mock game. I did well, solving three puzzles.
A week letter, I got the letter: “Congratulations, you’ve been selected to be part of our contestant pool.” If nothing else happened, I was happy to have a letter with those words and Wheel of Fortune letterhead.
This past July I finally got the email with a show date. So I flew out to LA.
The day started early—we arrived at the studio by 7:30. The contestant coordinators were all very helpful, taking us through everything we needed to know for the day. I was in the fifth group being taped for the day, so I got to watch four other shows before it was my turn. Once my group was up, we got into our positions at the wheel and waited for Pat and Vanna to walk out. Then it’s buzzers up and the game starts immediately. I felt lucky with my first toss-up: “MANHATTAN.” It’s where I work every day. Off to a good start.
I missed the next toss-up, but that was fine. I already had one puzzle in the bag. The next puzzle began with Keniece. After a few spins I knew the answer, but she kept spinning. Maybe she’ll miss a letter, hit Bankrupt or Lose or Turn. But no. None of that happened and eventually she solved it, earning a good chunk of change in the process.
Fortunately, things shifted back to my favor quickly with the next puzzle. It was a “Same Letter” category. My first spin hit $3,500. So did my second spin.
“There are six S’s,” Pat said.
Six! Plus it was the “same letter” — so that added another $1000. Just like that, I had $25,000 for the round. A fact Pat made sure I knew. No pressure. Keep calm and stay focused. The puzzle finally came to me at the very end and I shot into the lead.
My next big round came on the prize puzzle. I hit the Express wedge and quickly figured out the answer. So I filled it in letter by letter to rack up more money.
By this point, my head was spinning more than the wheel. I couldn’t believe the luck I was having. During commercial breaks the Wheel team fills you in on what’s next and makes sure you’re ready, but I could hardly pay attention. I was in too much disbelief. Even though we had another round or two, I knew was headed to Bonus Land. I had nearly $40,000 by that point.
Once I got to the bonus, all I could think was, “Whatever happens here, I’ve already far exceeded my expectations. I’m happy no matter what.” I missed “The Whole Package,” but hey, $46,550 for 30 minutes’ work is nothing to complain about. Thank you for an incredible experience Wheel of Fortune!