This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Taste of The Good Life Las Vegas|
|Hometown:||Silver Spring, MD|
POSTED on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
We spent two days exploring Vegas and having a great time with our friend, Kate. She’s the best host and tour guide you can imagine. We are so grateful for everything she did for us during our stay. On the morning of taping day, all of the contestants met at 6:45 am to begin our adventure. I was trying not to let my nerves get to me, but it was difficult. Luckily, the contestant coordinators arrived and helped put everyone at ease.
We filled out paperwork, introduced ourselves, and were able to practice calling letters and spinning the wheel. I know everyone says it, but that wheel is heavy. I think I may be one of the worst spinners in the history of spinners. I could not get that thing to move! I was very grateful that we were all able to practice before the tapings took place, or I don’t know what I would have done.
One of the things I remember most clearly about the day was how sincerely kind people were to the contestants. Jackie, Shannon, and Alex made sure that everyone had the best time and I cannot imagine what the day would have been like with people who were less capable.
We were assigned our taping buddies, and I was so happy that I was able to tape with two of the friendliest people there that day. I was asked to pick a number out of a hat to determine which show we would film and I picked the number five, which meant we would film last. It would be a long day! But, it also gave us the opportunity to watch all of the other contestants tape their shows, which ended up being extremely helpful.
It was finally our turn to go on set and start our game, and I was suddenly terrified. I thought I had gotten rid of most of my nerves during the course of the day, but they all came back and then some. I remember talking to myself (I’m sure I looked like a lunatic) and saying to just calm down and have fun. Before I knew it, Pat and Vanna were coming out, and we were getting ready to play. I solved the first toss-up, which meant I was the first person to do my introduction. I remember nothing about it. I just hope I didn’t embarrass myself!
Pat was so friendly and told us that the hard part was over, so we should just have fun. With that, the second toss-up appeared. It was a “Character” and pretty quickly, I thought it was “Captain Jack.” I don’t know why I thought that...it doesn’t really make sense, but I buzzed in and then immediately saw that it couldn’t be correct. “Nope,” was all that came out of my mouth. The answer was “Captain Kirk” and I swear to you, I could feel my husband’s stare from the audience hundreds of feet away. He is a Star Trek fan, as are many of my friends, and I knew that I would have a hard time living that one down.
Luckily, I was able to shake it off and solve another puzzle. When the prize puzzle came up, I was really excited. I knew that, often, the person who solves the prize puzzle goes to the bonus round. Unfortunately, I didn’t solve that one and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be the big winner. I did solve the third toss-up and then, the final bell rang as the fourth round started. We were all guessing letters and it continued for what felt like forever. I kept thinking, “You should know this by now!” but I just wasn’t seeing it. Finally, after I called my next letter, I saw it! Upscale Neighborhood! I got in right before the buzzer. I was just happy that I would be going home with some more money! Pat came over to me and said, “Do you see what you did?” I didn’t know what he meant at first, but he pointed to the score board, and I tried not to lose it. I had won (barely) and would be going to the Bonus Round.
Pat helped put things in perspective right before the bonus round. He said, “Listen, worst case scenario is that you go home with $11,000 so just have fun with this. But, you may as well solve it as long as you are here.” It was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. I spun the smaller wheel, and I wasn’t very good at spinning that one, either! I need to take a class or something.
In preparation for the show, I read a bunch of different opinions about the best letters to call during the bonus round, but when the puzzle came up, all of that information vanished and I just tried to focus on what was in front of me. It was a “Thing,” and it was one word, which made me very nervous. I guessed a C, an O (I think), and I don’t remember what else. Pat reminded me to use the letter board if I needed it, and as soon as the timer started, I blurted out “junction.” I have no idea why that came into my head, but it was the right answer. Pat opened the envelope revealing $50,000, and I thought I was going to faint. My husband and Kate ran onto the set, I chased after Pat for a hug (sorry about that), and I don’t remember anything else.
After paying taxes, we are going to put most of the money away in savings. We are going to put some aside to take the kids to Disney World when they get a little older. After all, if it weren’t for my daughter, Mairead (who is now a remarkable 4 year old), I don’t know that I would have had this once-in-a-lifetime experience at all.