This Week's Contestant
POSTED 6- 7
I arrived in Los Angeles two days before I was scheduled to tape my show. I have a lot of family and friends in LA since I lived and worked there for over 34 years. However, I opted to check into the hotel. I told everyone that for those first two days I would be married to my laptop and my computer versions of the Wheel of Fortune game. I had three different editions of the game. I wasn't sure how many puzzles would be repeated but I had seen a few that I was familiar with from watching the regularly taped programs. I wanted to be sure that I was as well prepared as I could possibly be. So I played game after game after game.
I got up early the morning of the taping, ate a good breakfast and caught the shuttle to the studio. One of the contestant coordinators met us outside of the building and led us back into the contestant waiting room. We had to hear all of the legal ramifications, the "can't do's" and the "how to's" before signing our life's away. Trust me, there was a lot of paperwork to get us started.
Then the fun began! We were introduced to the make-up artists. Each one of us got a chance to sit in the "high chair" and have our faces made up. I was really starting to feel like a celebrity! They provided snacks and brought in lunch for us. I thought to myself, "I could get use to this!" Then we had a quick visit from Vanna (in the natural) before she went in to see her hairstylist and have her make-up done. I thought, how regular is that! She was very pleasant and wished all of us good luck with the game.
The coordinators finally took us into the actual studio taping area and there it was,"The Wheel!" We all had to be instructed on actually how to spin the wheel effectively. Sitting at home it looks very easy. Once we got in place behind that podium, it wasn't that easy. It was extremely heavy. We all got a chance to practice several rounds before the real games started. Then we taped a short commercial that would possibly play on our local television stations.
We were paraded back into the contestant room where we were divided into groups of three. One person from each group had to then draw a number for the show taping order. They were taping six shows that day and wouldn't you know, at the auditions, I was first but now I was last! That meant that I was there ALL DAY! I had arrived about 7:30 a.m. and did not leave the studio until about 6:45 p.m.
After sitting through the taping of the first five shows, it was finally time for our show to tape. We got into our positions behind the Wheel, Pat and Vanna came out and I knew that this was the real deal! Pat announced the first "Toss-Up" and I got it! Then there was the second "Toss-Up" and I nailed it, too! The first puzzle I solved and the second Prize Puzzle was also mine. I won a trip to Mexico! I could not believe that in just a matter of minutes I had won over $14,000 in cash and prizes. Pat Sajak was about to declare a new CBS show, "The Wanda Show!" Then the tables started to turn. It was my turn in the third puzzle. I was looking at the puzzle before it got to me and intended to call an "I". I accidentally called an "E" that had already been called. The turn passed and one of the other contestants got the $10,000 wedge and to my dismay, it was not "Bankrupt." Then in the third "Toss-Up" I misread one of the letters. It was "HOUSE PAINTER" and I blurted out "HOUSE WAITER." The same contestant solved that Toss-Up and ended up going to the Bonus Round. I still could have pulled it out had I been able to solve the fourth puzzle. Not being an animal person, I could not for the life of me figure out what kind of "HORSE" that was..I never would have come up with "CLYDESDALE!"
As easy as it is at home, standing in front of the camera with all eyes on you is not so easy. I could never understand how someone could call a letter that had already been called until I did it. Overall, my experience on Wheel of Fortune is one that I will always remember. I want to again thank the contestant coordinators for being so accommodating and working with me during my medical challenges. You guys allowed one of my wildest dreams to be fulfilled..to spin the Wheel and to rub shoulders with Pat Sajak. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
My mother has been wanting to take a cruise to Alaska, so I guess I don't have an excuse for not taking her nowthere goes a big chunk of my winnings! Of course, I really can't think of anything better that I would want to spend it on.