Rae W's Blog Post
To say I’m a game show junkie would be an understatement! As long as I can remember I have watched game shows. It started with my grandmother and What’s My Line, To Tell the Truth, Truth or Consequences, and on and on. For the past 36 years you know which show has been on the top of my list……WHEEL OF FORTUNE! I never thought I would be selected to be on a game show. My daughter saw an ad stating the Wheelmobile would be in El Paso, TX. That’s only 45 minutes from my home! She immediately knew I had to go and she would go with me for moral support. Neither of us knew what to expect when we got there. I was called on stage with 4 others. We had a short interview with the host then we worked on solving a puzzle. I got a letter in the puzzle, but someone solved it before it came back to me. My daughter was called up later and she had the same experience. The day was a lot of fun and we left wondering if we would get the email asking us to come for a second round of auditions. We did!! We were so excited to be trying out as a mother/daughter team! The second audition was on a much smaller scale with only about 70 people there. We kept telling ourselves to just relax and have fun. We made the first cut of the day and it was finally our time to stand in the front of the room with 3 other “couples” and a big puzzle to solve. The process was very fast-paced as they wanted to really test us, and boy did they!! Unfortunately for me, I did the one thing I never wanted to do…..bought a vowel that was already showing on the board. Oh no!! I just knew I had blown it for us. We were told if we were selected as future contestants we would receive a letter in the mail in about 2 weeks. If we did not hear from them around that time, then we weren’t chosen and we could try again another time. Two weeks came and went, then 3 weeks. I was so down in the dumps and disappointed because I felt I had ruined our chances by not paying attention. On the 22nd day following the second audition my daughter got THE LETTER! It was congratulating her on being chosen for Family Week. I did not receive my letter that day, BUT if she was chosen for Family Week, then that meant I was, too! The wait began! In mid-March I received a phone call from Shannon stating they weren’t going to do a Family Week and would it be alright if they split my daughter and me into individual appearances. I was sad at first as we were really looking forward to sharing the stage, but then excitement kicked in and washed away the disappointment! In two weeks I was going to be a contestant on my favorite game show, and the game show my Mother never missed when she was living! There was a lot to get organized for a quick trip to Los Angeles! I was so excited to have my wonderful husband, son, daughter, and son-in-law accompany me on the trip. I knew I was going to be on TV, but I really wanted to make sure they were, too. For that to happen I had to get to the Bonus Round! The whole contestant experience up to the taping was incredible. Alex, Jackie, Shannon, and Teddy, along with the hair and makeup ladies are simply amazing people. They kept us relaxed and on the move the entire time. I can’t tell you how many times during the morning I used the word surreal. That’s what it was. In the days leading up to my appearance I told myself I couldn’t be nervous.
Every moment on set was something I didn’t want to miss because of nervousness. I couldn’t believe how calm I was!! Standing behind the wheel waiting for Pat and Vanna to walk out on stage seemed, guess what, surreal!!! I was lucky to get the first toss up, then the second, and the third!! Wow, was this really happening? I solved another puzzle, then the Prize puzzle came up. The answer was “Packing Checklist.” When Pat told me to pack for Maui, I squeezed him around the waist!!! The game was winding down and the speed up time was on. My fellow contestant Adam solved the last puzzle and I was so happy for him. The third contestant, Taylor had such a tough day. She called great letters each time but none of them would be in the puzzle. My heart went out to her, but I was happy she took home $1,000. It was now time to move on to the Bonus Round!!! My family was going to get air time! Pat knew my grandchildren are so important to me from our earlier interview.
Before I spun the bonus wheel he asked me what my grandchildren called me. After I handed him the prize envelope he reached for my hand and said, “Come on GooGoo, let’s walk over here.” That was so cute and warmed my heart!! I had chosen Food and Drink as my category, let’s face it, how difficult can that be? After all the letters were called I ended up with _ _ _ _ _ / _ E _ E R _ _ E I immediately knew the second word was “beverage” so I got excited before the timer even began. I could not figure out the first word. “Fizzy”, no. “Beery” ummm, no. That’s not even a word!! Nothing else would fit in my mind during those 10 short seconds. It turns out it was “Foamy Beverage”, and to think my future daughter-in-law is in the beer industry! Oh well, I certainly wasn’t too bummed as I walked away with $26,500 in cash and prizes and memories to last a lifetime. Pat and Vanna were absolutely as precious in person as they appear to be on TV. Having the chance to stand and chat with them at the end of the show was a very special moment. Thank you Wheel of Fortune staff for making my day on set one of the best days of my life and a day I will never forget!