This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Sand & Sea|
Well, the time had come for me to go out to the Wheel and play America's Game! When I got out to my position, I gave a big smile to my husband Mark and three of my best friends that I hadn't seen for nearly two years. Two of those friends, Tim and Ashley, had arrived to Los Angeles late the night before, so I hadn't even seen them until this moment. I got my microphone on, stood on my platform, (which they raised a little so I wouldn't look so short on camera!), and waited for Pat and Vanna to make their appearance thus starting our game!
Everything was very surreal! I couldn't think about too many things, because we had been coached so well to make sure we were ready to focus on solving puzzles! Time for the first Toss-Up! It was a hard on. None of us knew what it was until the last letter was up, and Jared buzzed in first. We made our introductions, and I emphasized two of my favorite things: my sweet and beautiful daughter, Claire (18 months), and the University of Kentucky Wildcats! Time for the next Toss-Up, which I did not get, Jenny did. After that Toss-Up, we went into the first puzzle. I got a chance to spin twice, but landed on bankrupt the second time. Jared ended up solving the puzzle. So we went to the next spinning puzzle of the evening, and I don't think I even got a chance to spin the wheel at all! Jared kept control of the wheel and solved it. So, by this time, we had gone through two Toss-Up puzzles and two spinning round puzzles, Jenny had $2,000, and Jared had nearly $8,000, a gift card and the $1 Million Dollar Wedge! I remember both Jenny and Jared saying, "Lori, it's your turn to win now!" I was loving the team effort of all the contestants (which is something that is highly encouraged by the contestant coordinators) and didn't feel discouraged at all. I was just anxious to try to get a turn solving at least one puzzle.
Here was my chance; it was my turn to start off the next spinning puzzle, which was a Prize Puzzle! The puzzle was "What Are You Doing?" I solved it and I won a trip to Belize! Whew! Pressure was now off to feel like I had to win something. I had more than achieved my goal of winning a little money, and I was now leading Jared by about $1,000. There were still more puzzles to be solved, and we had our final Toss-Up next. Jared won that and $3,000. Now he was in the lead! I was surprised that we had enough time to get through another spinning puzzle before time came for Pat's Final Spin. And, thankfully, I won the fourth spinning puzzle! Now it was Pat's Final Spin. The contestant coordinators sometimes refer to Pat as "Golden Arm Pat", and I quickly discovered the truth to that nickname. Pat spun the $5,000 wedge on the final spin. For those who need a refresher, this means that every consonant would be worth $1,000 more than what Pat landed on: $6,000! This meant that each of us were pretty much back in the game with a chance to go to the Bonus Round. We all took our turn guessing consonants. I guessed a "S" and there was one. Jenny guessed a single letter as well. So, Jenny and I both had $6,000 each. The ever so talented Jared guessed a "T", and there were four "T"s! Then Jared was leading with $24,000! I still remember the feeling when I realized the answer to the puzzle. It was still Jared's turn and his time was still counting down. When his time expired, I practically fell over. I calmly (well, I don't know how calm I was) called out an "M" and solved the puzzle, knowing I had made it to the Bonus Round!
It was still feeling so surreal! I grinned at Mark and followed directions to my next position. I practiced spinning the small wheel, got a few words of encouragement from one of the contestant coordinators, and got a make-up touch-up. The gentleman helping me practice spin the wheel asked me if I would be okay if Pat held my hand to guide me over the cords and to my spot. I said, "Of course! I've been waiting a long time to hold Pat Sajak's hand!" When the commercial break was over, Pat came out and directed me as I spun the wheel, grabbed the prize card and followed him to my spot on the floor. The studio is much smaller than it looks on TV, and I felt like I was too close to the puzzle board. The puzzle was a "Thing" and three letters were given to me from the first round of letters: "R, S, T, L, N, & E". I guessed a "J" thinking that the first word could be "Just". I also requested a "D", "C", & and an "A". I got one "J" (but in the second word, NOT the first word like I thought), and two "A"'s. Regardless, I had no clue what it was. I focused on the second word for about 4 to 5 seconds, and then I decided to try to work on the first word. I used my letter board (as I had been repeatedly told to do by my contestant coordinators) and it worked! I figured out the first word, which made the second word come together. I solved 2 seconds before my time ran out and I had won! Poor Pat! I squealed loudly and squeezed his arm very firmly! He opened the $30,000 envelope and before I could completely process all of it, I was swept up by my sweet husband, Mark. He twirled me around and I then hugged my friends while we all just marveled in disbelief at what had just happened.
All in all, I had won about $55,000 in cash and a great trip to Belize! What a huge blessing! I just couldn't believe it happened. I then got to go hug Vanna and stand with her and Pat and talk about my day, my trip to Belize and my friends that were so excited to see me. The entire experience was beyond what I have dreamed it could be, and I didn't ever think that it would happen to me. I'm thankful that the entire Wheel of Fortune team and staff were so professional and so kind. I think it's the BEST game show that ever was, and I'm not surprised that it is the longest running game show on today. Thank you, Wheel, for a great experience! My hubby and I plan to enjoy our trip to Belize sometime before baby number two arrives (in September). We're so thankful!