This Week's Contestant
|Hometown:||New York, NY|
Game Day finally arrived! I woke up at 4:45am with a bundle of nerves, energy, and excitement. Six shows were to be filmed that day, and a lottery determined that I was taping the second show. I felt like a celebrity that morning; I got my makeup done by a professional, met Vanna White, and even taped a Wheel of Fortune commercial for New York's ABC 7. The contestants and I played a mock game of Wheel to warm up our voices, brains, and biceps. I had been warned in advance that the wheel was incredibly heavy and difficult to spin, but I was surprised that it was so much smaller than it appears on TV.
Before I knew it, it was show time! I stood in the "Red" position and waited for Pat to join me on stage. My master list of desert words proved to be a godsend. In the days leading up to my tape date, my friend Laurie repeatedly texted me the word, "mirage." Amazingly, the first Toss-Up puzzle was, "Seeing a Mirage." I buzzed in and silently thanked Laurie for my $1,000 start. I was so excited to solve the first Toss-Up that I literally tossed the buzzer into the air! Oops!
Two things I did not anticipate about my experience on Wheel: 1) That there would be certain rounds in which I did not even get a chance to spin. 2) The frustration of knowing the answer, but having to wait patiently until it was my turn to solve. At home, I could instantly shout out the puzzle as soon as I knew it; not so on the show. I had two solid competitors who maintained control over the Wheel and solved very quickly.
I knew that winning the Prize Puzzle greatly increased the odds of going to the Bonus Round. Luckily, I had ample chances to spin in the most critical round of the game. I solved, "Steak Bean and Cheese Burrito" and won a trip to Riviera Maya! Despite my overwhelming excitement, I knew I couldn't lose focus because, as we know, anything could happen. The next few rounds whizzed by, and I managed to maintain my lead. I WAS GOING TO THE BONUS ROUND!
Even though I had daydreamed about this moment many times, it felt surreal to actually spin the mini Bonus Round Wheel. When Vanna revealed, "R, S, T, L, N, E" in the puzzle, I was shocked that there were no consonants. My letter choices, "B, D, G, O" didn't provide much help either. I had 10 seconds to work with E _ _ _ _O_ _ GE. I remember even Pat acknowledging that this puzzle was especially difficult. Without a moment to spare, I immediately referred to the "Used Letter Board" to plug in letters for the first word (in retrospect, I wonder why my brain didn't gravitate toward the second word). I went down the list of letters, "E, C, E, F, E, H" and when I got to, "E,P," immediately, "Epic Voyage" popped out of my mouth. I couldn't believe it! Apparently, the producers had to physically restrain my family (no joke!) to keep them from running on to the set. When Pat opened the magic envelope, he revealed that I had won $45,000 in less than ten seconds! My family was then permitted to storm the stage. "How did you do that?" they kept asking. "I don't know!" I replied, still in disbelief. We had our own celebration on stage, and I'm admittedly a little scared to see how enthusiastic we look on national television. Afterward, I got to chat one-on-one with Vanna and Pat as they wrapped up the show.
Clich as it may seem, my experience on Wheel of Fortune truly was an "Epic Voyage!" I can't believe how lucky I am that my single online submissionamidst millions of applicationslanded me a highly coveted spot on America's Game! Thank you so much to Pat, Vanna, the contestant coordinators, production team and, of course, my family for sharing one of the most thrilling days of my life!