This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Going Green Portland|
POSTED on 4-30
My journey to becoming a contestant on Wheel of Fortune began at an early age. As a child I spent my summers and Christmases with my grandparents in Park Forest, Illinois just south of Chicago. My fondest memories of my grandpa Irv is our bickering sessions over what to watch on T.V. There were very few shows we could agree on, but I clearly remember those we did: Married with Children, anything on Shark Week and, of course, Wheel of Fortune!
After a brief hiatus from watching the show regularly, my love for the famous puzzle game was renewed when one of my best friends, Joscelyn (Cook) Pankey was a contestant in 2004. Joz kicked butt at her show and made her way to the bonus round. It was Vegas week so naturally she had the assumption that her bonus puzzle would be Vegas themed so she shouted with glee "JUMBO BET", only to find out it was "JUMBO JET". Though she was quite happy with her 20K plus she received (all cash I will have you know), we will never let her live that one down!
Fast forward 6 years later and my friend Alisha has just announced that the Wheel Mobile was heading to Chinook Winds, a casino a few hours from my home town of Albany, Oregon.
"We should all go try out! How awesome would it be if all of us got on?"
"All of us" refers to the 4 best friends anyone could have, we named ourselves the Golden Girlsyes after one of the best sitcoms on syndicated television. The 3 Oregon based Golden Girls (Alisha, Jamie, and myself) made plans to go to the first weekend that the Wheel Mobile was stationed at the casino.
Here we are, at the Wheel Mobile, and I am AMPED. I have 2 of my best friends with me and we are just determined to get all four members of the Golden Girls on Wheel.
During the first session I am called to the stage where I try to win the crowd over with my witty banter and excerpts of some Karaoke favorites. An inside joke among my friends is how I ended up on the stage. Our handsome host had a rough time trying to pronounce my name, so in slow motion I shout "EICHELBERGER!" with my hands raised above my head in tight fists. I think the Rocky theme might even have been playing in the back ground, well in my mind at least.
During the third session, Jamie "Hot Stuff" Oelrich is called up. I scream! TWO DOWN. What a day! 2 of the 3 of us were called to the stage and have a shot at being on the show! Now all that we have to do is wait months until we get notice of the next round of auditions. Wait, MONTHS!!!
I keep myself busy with work, Wheel of Fortune episodes, and losing 40lbs! Heck yeah, I have a chance to be on T.V. so it's time to finally get off my butt and get it into shape. It's March, months later, and I see my friend post on Facebook that she got an email invitation from Wheel to the next round of auditions. I have a mix of emotions; elation that she might get on, and yet a green eyed monster rising inside that wants a call back too. I quickly open my email account and find that I got an invite to the next audition too! AMAZING. Best friends, off to the next round!
A few weeks later I am driving up to Portland for the audition. I am so excited that Wheel has decided to film 4 weeks in Portland. My friend and I have different audition days. My thoughts on that bittersweet; we can make new friends and not really "compete" against each other but it's always nice to do things together. I was a bit nervous because I had heard that there was a WRITTEN QUIZ. The quiz wasn't that bad, I missed a few, but the whole audition was so much fun. I kept wondering how I can have a job doing that for a living the contestant crew must love their jobs!
We were all told we only had to wait two weeks to find out if we made the show. Two weeks felt nearly as long as the months I waited to get the call back! But with a few days to deadline I get a call from the wonderful and might I say handsome-in-his-skinny-jeans Gary telling me I get to be a contestant on Going Green week. BOOYOW! Not only that, but Jamie gets a call too!!!
I have been waiting for this my whole life! Mark it off of my bucket list (which was wedged between getting a photo in People magazine of me arm and arm with Zac Efron and learning how to fly a plane)!
I prepared for the show by watching every episode of Wheel of Fortune on T.V., playing numerous games of hangman with my co-workers (during breaks!), and exercising my analytic skills on what letters to pick in the bonus round.
Did Pat pronounce my name correctly? Did I win the coveted Prize Puzzle? Did I call out a letter that was already called? Did I even get to the bonus round to see if I chose the right letters?
Check out how I did on "Going Green" week kicking off a month in Portland, Oregon on April 30th!