Thomas F's Blog Post
1. What is your Wheel story?
Growing up, I loved watching Wheel Of Fortune especially with my Grandmother Joan Becker. I always watched with her and after I was old enough to drive, I visited her all the time and we watched together. When the Wheelmobile came to Atlantic City, NJ, I tried out three times. The first time I ever tried out, I went by myself and was so nervous & excited. Unfortunately, I was not picked, but I did not give up. In 2012, the Wheelmobile came back to Atlantic City. My mother, Joann went with me one day and my wife, Christa went with me the second day, but again I was not chosen. The third time in 2015, the Wheelmobile was back! I was determined to make my dream come true so my wife and I went back. While we were there, we began talking to a group of ladies, Fran, Judy & Eileen and befriended them. We cheered on Fran when she got chosen. I was finally chosen as the 3rd person of the last group of five and finally got to meet the host "Uncle Marty"! I was so nervous during my interview with Uncle Marty but I brushed that off and got into game mode. My puzzle's category was "Before & After" and I enthusiastically solved the puzzle "Coffee Mug Shot"!!! After finishing my Wheelmobile game, I collected my Wheel swag. They announced to check your mail for a notification for a second audition. I received that letter and I was chosen for the second audition. I was so excited! When I arrived, I saw a familiar face!!! Fran got a second audition! The second audition was even more nerve racking! We had Wheelmobile "Coaches" who were explaining what they look for in contestants. I was playing and I knew the puzzle. I said I would spin one more time and the worst thing that could have happened did: Bankrupt! I had a light at the end tunnel when one of the "Coaches" said to me that she knows I knew the puzzle. Next came a written test and I had to solve as many puzzles in 5 minutes. After a short break to score our tests, the group was cut into half. If my name was called, I stay and continue on to the second half of the audition. Fingers crossed and my name was called. Unfortunately, my new friend, Fran's wasn't. Fran & I said goodbye but she wished me luck and she said she knows that I am goning be on the show and she is now a fan of mine. After the second half of the audition was completed, the "Coaches" advised us to check our mail for a letter in two weeks and if you receive one, that means you have been chosen to be a contestant. It was the longest two weeks
ever! One week & six days later, I actually received a phone call from Teddy from Wheel Of Fortune and I got the news I have been waiting for: I AM GOING TO BE A CONTESTANT ON WHEEL OF FORTUNE!!! MY DREAM IS GOING TO BE A REALITY!!!
Unfortunately, my Grandmother passed away before she was able to see me on Wheel but she knew I was going be on the show. She was with me during my show and I know that because her Birthday is March 23rd and my show taped on September 23rd, 2016.
2. What was it like meeting Pat & Vanna?
While the other contestants and I were standing around the Wheel and the "Coaches" were talking to us, Vanna White appeared out of nowhere, standing there with a cup of coffee and says "Hello everybody, this is what I look like out of makeup" and she congratulated us and went to get ready for her day. I wasn't sure if I was going to get to talk to Vanna more but I had that opportunity after I won the Bonus Round, but I was so nervous that I don't even remember what I talked about at the end of the show with Pat & Vanna. I always wonder what the contestants are saying at the end when they are rolling the credits and the home viewers can't hear them. I was thinking the same thing when I saw my episode on television. During the first round, one of my opponents, Jamice spun the wheel and I thought she landed on the "Million Dollar Wedge" because I was looking down at my space and I was excited for her and cheered for her, until I realized that she didn't land on it. Pat said "OK everybody, don't mind Thomas".
3. Were there any special highlights of your game? Specific puzzles you solved, or didn't solve? Special wedges you picked up or prizes you won?
Prior to being on the show, my Stepdaughter, Rachel told me that if I solved any puzzles, make sure it is the "Prize Puzzle"! No pressure there! I ended up solving the "Prize Puzzle". The Category was "What Are You Doing?" and the answer was "Visiting A Polynesian Restaurant" and I won a trip to Oahu! After I solved the puzzle, I was so excited that I started hyperventilating and everybody, including Pat asked me if I am ok? I jokingly responded back with "I think I need an EMT. Wait, I'm an EMT."
4. What was it like going to the Bonus Round?
Before I was on the show, my brother, George told me that if I make it to the Bonus Round and if I know the puzzle before picking my 3 Consonants and 1 vowel, pick a "Z". When I made it to the Bonus Round, the Category was "Place" I knew the puzzle before picking my letters, but I did not pick a "Z". I picked a "Q" and Pat said "Why would he pick a "Q"? The Bonus Round was "A Quaint Cottage". Before Pat opened the envelope, I began to run to my wife and Pat stopped me and then opened the envelope and scored $34,000!!!
5. What was your favorite part of the entire experience - from your audition to taping the show?
Making my dream of being a contestant on Wheel Of Fortune come true and making it to the Bonus Round and solving the puzzle and sharing my dream with my wife, Christa.
6. What's something Wheel fans should know about you that they won't get to hear in your contestant interview?
I enjoy watching and playing Wheel Of Fortune as much as I can. After I was on Wheel, I asked a friend if they would play Wheel of Fortune with me and they responded back with "I'm not playing against you, you are a professional." Nobody liked playing Wheel with me before I was on the show because I always solved the puzzles first and now that I was on the show, now they don't want to play Wheel with me even more! :-)