This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Vacation of a Lifetime|
I arrived early in the morning at Sony Pictures Studios with my game face on! I had my energy bar, memorized the alphabet, and was ready to work out my brain on some tough puzzles. I met people from across the country: New York, Louisiana, and even North Dakota and Minnesota! Walking into the building, I felt like a kid at Christmas time.
The theme for the week was "Vacation of a Lifetime," even though being at the studio was my vacation of a lifetime already. I felt like I had hit the jackpot! The studio itself was full of energy. The amount of hard work the staff of Wheel of Fortune does to put on a fun, enthusiastic show is amazing. I was in heaven when I finally got to see the giant puzzle board and the star of the show: the Wheel!
We were then led backstage where we were coached on Wheel of Fortune. After awhile of learning about the history of the show and how to play the game smart, we had a surprise visitor. And what a surprise it was to see Vanna White just stroll in to say "hi" and wish us all good luck! The best advice she gave was: 'HAVE FUN"! Well, Vanna, done and done!
We then went back out to the studio area to do some practice runs of the game, just to get into the swing of things. My favorite part of this was learning how to spin the Wheel. I thought it would just be an easy thing to do, but there really was a "right" way to spin the Wheel. And on television the wheel looks deceivingly easy to spin, when in fact it is VERY heavy and hard to spin (except for those who are much stronger than me, which is a large portion of the population).
Finally, it was go time. I was up against two lovely ladies; one from North Dakota and the other from Louisiana. I was in the center position, just ONE spot away from hanging out next to Mr. Pat Sajak! I was extremely nervous. There are so many things to be aware of when taping the show besides solving a puzzle on national television with Pat and Vanna right next to you.
I won the first Toss-Up puzzle and that gave me another boost of energy, which was quite unnecessary. I was ready to take down some puzzles and win some Big Money! Pat introduced me and I tried to not stutter or fumble my words. Easier said than done! After that, the puzzles all started blurring together. I do remember being on a roll on the "Prize Puzzle" round, but I couldn't figure out for the life of me the actual puzzle. I guess the nerves got the best of me. The Wheel determines your fate and at times can be cruel. Example: I hit bankrupt and the next contestant solved it and won a fabulous trip to Antigua. That bankrupt sound noise is something I don't wish upon even my worst enemy! It breaks the heart.
Another round came along, and I hit bankrupt a couple more times. I felt like I was getting hit with a really big case of bad luck! I ended up solving a puzzle, then I won the third Toss-Up puzzle! I was feeling back on top of the world! I started the next puzzle after that, got a few letters and vowels up there, then the final round bell sounded. Pat gave the Wheel a Final Spin. It was my turn to guess a letter. I guessed an "L." Vanna lit up one "L" on the board, and I just blurted out an answer almost in question format. To my surprise, I was RIGHT! I WAS GOING TO THE BONUS ROUND!
The final round. This is where champions are born. The "R," "S," "T," "L," "N," and "E" letters went up. I stated my letters, which did not help me out. The category was "Place." I could not think of anything to even yell out. My ten seconds were up and I did not solve the puzzle. I did not win the extra $30,000 (would have been nice for student loans). But I did walk away with $9,250! What's better than that is I got to hold Pat Sajak's hand and have a conversation with both Pat and Vanna at the end of the show! It was the best day of my life....seriously.
With my winnings, I plan on paying some bills (of course), but I am also going to use it to fund my trip to Costa Rica for my brother's wedding! I have had all my friends, family, co-workers ask me how I did since I came home from taping. I didn't tell anyone what happened, except for my roommate, Jen, who came with me to Wheel of Fortune. I waited to have everyone watch the show and see what happened. It has been hard to keep such an exciting event in my life quiet, but it was well worth it.