This Week's Contestant
My love for TV game shows grew until it ultimately became a goal of mine to become a contestant on one of them. So when the Wheelmobile rolled into the St. Louis area for two days, I was eager to attend the auditions only 40 minutes away! I had missed the first day of auditions, so when I found out my husband's cousin was going on the second day; I eagerly asked if I could go along. Oddly enough we were both randomly chosen in the drawings to go on stage, play a mock version of the Bonus Round, and then impress the Contestant Coordinators with personality. I actually had laryngitis but managed to squeak out enough enthusiasm, blaming my lack of voice due to screams of excitement for Wheel of Fortune, and it worked!
About two and a half weeks later, I received an email invitation for a second audition. The audition was scheduled for one week later. I immediately hit the Wheel of Fortune message boards to pick up any tips and information, and it proved to be very beneficial. At the audition I played the game. While I clapped, smiled, and cheered so much I got a headache, my cheeks hurt, and my hands were sore! After taking the challenging five-minute written test, which had 16 fill-in-the blank puzzles, I enjoyed a break to watch some classic entertaining footage of Wheel of Fortune. Next, I heard my name called as one of the remaining contestant hopefuls; I then completed the final part of the audition process which required standing up and playing the game with four other players. In the end, we were told that if we selected as a contestant, we would receive a letter in the mail within two weeks. Exactly one week later, my letter arrived! I kept practicing over two months until I finally received the phone call asking if I could fly out to tape in two weeks for Pet Lovers Week! Ironically, moments later, my neighbor called to tell us that our adopted 2-year old shih-tzu was running around outside the neighborhood, a muddy mess! Who knew that the day I'd get called to tape for Pet Lovers Week would be the one and only day my pet decided to escape our home and risk her life?! Once we made sure our dog was safe (and had a much needed grooming appointment), I quickly planned my trip to Culver City for the day I will never forget...taping day!
I was excited to learn that the shuttle driver from the hotel to the studio was the same one I had the previous day picking me up from the airport. He had given me calming words of advice and wished me luck, then told me the last person he wished luck and advice won a million dollars! No pressure, huh? We arrived at Sony Studios safe and sound, and after some paperwork we headed out to the studio where I was in awe at the heavy wheel, gorgeous set, audience section, and the larger than life puzzleboard which was a surprisingly pretty good distance from the Wheel! We were trained on how to spin the Wheel and project our voices. My group of three was already pre-selected and we were the second taping! During rehearsal, I was reminded several times to stop looking at the Wheel and keep looking at the puzzleboard. It was also challenging to keep an eye on the used letter board while trying to call logical letters, frequently buy vowels, smile, clap low (in order not to interfere with the microphone), and solve the puzzle. It was at that point I decided I would be play barefoot that's right, no shoes! Once the audience started to arrive, I was guided up to the contestant section of the audience until it was time for my taping. At that point, my make-up was re-touched and my microphone clipped on. I was ready! Nervous, but ready...to live my dream in 3, 2, 1...roll tape on March 15th!