This Week's Contestant
|Theme:||Sears Secret Santa Sweepstakes|
POSTED on Monday, November 26th, 2012
I've been a Wheel-a-Holic ever since I was the tender age of 8. I remember even back then loathing the fact that you had to spend your Wheel winnings on the show. (So glad they changed that). I can still picture the pint-sized version of me yelling at the screen, "What if they don't like the grandfather clock?!" Well to help support my habit, my dear sweet mother bought me my very own Wheel of Fortune board game. Oh, the fond memories of flicking that spinner and squinting my eyes hoping I didn't land on BANKRUPT.
Well, despite being a die-hard Wheel of Fortune fan for decades, I never even considered trying out for the show until a few years ago. Back in '06 I heard the Wheel Mobile was coming near my hometown Miramar, FL and at that point my game plan went into effect. I knew they were scheduled to do auditions at a large Casino on Sunday morning, which by the way, meant I had to play hooky from church in order to be there. So what was my plan? Hang out at the casino until the wee hours so I could be amongst the first in line for my shot at the wheel. Brilliant, right?!?
So there I am feeling smug for being Ms. Early Bird only to find out the auditions were done via random drawing so it really didn't make a lick of difference if I was the 1st in line or the 501st ! I felt so deflated, but since I had already gone through all that trouble I figured I might as well stay. Well needless to say, I was never called. Guess that's what I get for skipping out on church.
Okay, so fast forward six years later. Once again the Wheel Mobile was rolling through South Florida. I decided to take another stab at it. No overnight stakeouts this time! The auditions weren't as close as before and I had to drive about an hour and a half away to get there. Auditions were scheduled from 1:00-5:00 PM. Unable to totally shake my early bird tendencies I got there at 11:00 AM. Which, apparently wasn't so early because there were about 100 people already there. I guess they were like me 6 years prior: clueless to the whole random name calling system.
Well, after being there for several hours, and as the five o'clock hour was drawing near, I was preparing to call it a day when all of a sudden I hear my name being called out from the stage. I ran to the stage like a turbo-charged track star, screaming at the top of my lungs. During my stage interview I shared that one of my past times was rapping and was asked to give a little sample, so I did. The crowd roared, and all of a sudden I became the rapping contestant. I practically floated off the stage. Now it was time to wait. We were all told we had to wait up to 3 months to hear about the results. Those three months felt more like three years! Well thankfully my mini rap concert resulted in a second audition a few months later, then eventually an invitation to the show. I was elated! The final step was a call from the Contestant Department telling me my recording date. Woo-hoo, California here I come!
On the eve of my taping I slept pretty well with the exception of the earthquake that woke me up! Talk about a true California experience! The taping day itself started pretty early 7:15 am to be exact. I and most of the other contestants were transported to the studio via our hotel's shuttle service. When we got there we were escorted to a room stocked with refreshments. The Contestant Coordinators were super nice and supportive. They helped keep us calm throughout the day. They thoroughly explained the rules and gave us tips and reminders on how to play the game well. One of the most valuable tips was to buy vowels. They drilled that into us all day long, and with good reason. In the midst of all of this I got a chance to chat with some of the fellow contestants. There were 15 of us, 17 if you count the 2 alternates that were there on standby.
When all the prepping was done, they walked us out on the set. The set was awesome! I literally felt like a kid at Christmas. This was especially true because the set had a Christmas theme due to it being "Secret Santa Week." At this point my excitement level kicked up about a trillion notches. I was actually on the set of Wheel of Fortune!!! I could hardly believe it! The Contestant Coordinators let us do some practice sessions which included spinning the wheel, and let me tell you, that sucker was heavy! I'd come a long way from that little girl flicking a spinner on a Wheel of Fortune board game. Soon it would be my time to shine. Stay tuned to see how I did!
Watch my big moment unfold on November 29th, 2012.