Tim H's Blog Post
Monday, February 18th, 2013
I just signed up on a whim. My wife and I had just finished watching the show and I thought I would check out the website, maybe find some clips of the show or something. When I saw the option to apply to be a contestant, I thought that it couldn't hurt to try. Then I promptly forgot about it. A reminder came to me in the form of an email informing me that the Wheel of Fortune contestant coordinators were going to be in the Knoxville Tennessee area, which is just a few minutes away from my hometown of Friendsville. My wife and I had a laugh about it, and I was free that day anyway. I knew that the odds of getting on the show were not in my favor, but it sounded like it could be fun to be a part of, so my curiosity won out. I had no idea, however, how much fun it would be.
I was scheduled to audition with the last group that the crew would be seeing on their trip to Knoxville. We got to playact at spinning the wheel, calling out letters, and the like. Just being in such a diverse group of people, all playing loudly and acting wild, filled the air with energy. The group was narrowed down little by little, and yet I remained through it all. The crew said that if all goes well, then some of us would receive a letter within two weeks to tell us good news. Two weeks and two days later, I received a letter in the mail. I had been chosen for the contestant pool!
As with the previous steps, there was still no guarantee of getting on the show. Reading that letter, though, filled me with a sense of pride. Before the audition, I was just a name on a screen. At the audition, they must have noticed something unique or interesting about me as a person. I would have been content with the story ending right then. Then I got the call. I was contacted by the same woman who had come to Knoxville to hold auditions. She asked how things were going, if I still had the dog I spoken of at auditions, if I could come out to LA in a couple of weeks. She talked to me for quite some time, and I couldn't understand a word. All I could think was that this was my chance. I had seen people playing this game all my life, and now this was my chance. There was no way I was going to miss this. Watch me spin on Wednesday, February 20th!
Thursday, February 21st, 2013
My wife and I got to LA a day before the taping. I think she was more nervous than I was! Neither of us had traveled this far west before, so we decided that we were going to enjoy the trip no matter how I fared on the show.
Taping day was going to start early, so we got some much-needed rest before we did anything else. I met up with the rest of the contestants the next morning. We were picked for Pet Lovers' Week, so we all already had something in common. We all had a great time getting to know each other, and I even met another person from the Knoxville area. Vanna even came in to meet us all before she got ready for the show.
Everyone working on the show seemed energetic and happy to be there, which helped put us at ease for the happenings of the day. We all got split into groups that we would be taping with, and we got to practice spinning the wheel and calling letters. The wheel is much smaller than I had envisioned, but weighs so much more! I was in group #3, so we got to watch the first two groups tape before we had to go. It was really nice to see people that we had met actually playing and having the time of their lives. The coordinators told us that playing the game would be the fastest twenty minutes of your life, and they were spot on. I have no idea what the first couple of puzzles were, they went by so quickly!
When the first break comes around, I realize that I need to focus on one moment at a time, and not think about what has happened or what comes next. I guess that worked, because somehow I ended up solving enough puzzles to earn myself a trip to the final puzzle. My wife and I had always joked about how nobody seems to pick the letter "I" for the final puzzle, so I made a point to do just that. It didn't help, but it didn't matter, because "HOMEOWNER" was the only word that popped into my head. Pat opened up the envelope that I had chosen moments earlier, and announced that I had just won an extra $30,000! I was amazed, I had never imagined such good luck! I had ultimately won a crazy amount of money, and a trip to Trinidad and Tobago! Once we got home, we told our dog, Figaro, all about the show and how we were going to buy him some new toys and treats. He did not seem impressed. I think he was just glad that we were home, and that we all had a great time!