This Week's Contestant
POSTED on Friday January 4, 2013
To continue with the fairy tale analogy, I was more than ready to meet the Prince of Puns & the Princess of Phashion, Pat Sajak and Vanna White!
The morning of the taping I was downstairs early (yes, family & friends, early, believe it or not) at the hotel waiting for the shuttle to take me to the studio. As instructed in the very helpful information packet I had received by mail at home, I had my photo ID, social security card and an extra outfit (in case of spills, tears, or if what I was wearing wasn't camera friendly). I was super excited to begin my adventure!
Once at the studio we were greeted by the contestant coordinators and the business of being a contestant began: paperwork! Six shows were being taped that day so there were eighteen contestants and two alternates present in the green room. We were grouped into three person teams, with one of those people (on my team, me) drawing for show order - - I drew number four. I was pleased that my show was not the first or the last of the day, being in the middle would allow me time to get the lay of the land, so to speak. Meanwhile, we were plied with snacks and beverages as, two by two, people were sent to make-up to be made camera ready. The Wheel people were, without exception, nice, helpful and encouraging. While we nibbled, sipped and were powdered, they gave us pointers on how to do well on the show. Next we were taken into the studio and there it was, THE Wheel! They had us do practice spins (yes, the wheel is surprisingly heavy) and gave us such pointers as how to clap correctly (down low so as not to interfere with our microphones) and where to stand while at the wheel (there's a piece of tape at each spot, contestants are supposed to line their belly buttons up with this so the camera man will have you in view). Lots of information (who knew that the platform behind the wheel could be raised or lowered so that the players could be somewhat uniform in height?), lots to process and remember. We toured the lovely set. The theme for our week was 'Winter Expeditions,' so of course there was a fireplace; we saw the used letter board, taped promos for our hometown stations and were wished good luck by Vanna as she walked through on her way to wardrobe.
We could sit in the contestant section of the audience or watch on TV from the green room as the shows were being taped. We contestants were very supportive of those playing and clapped when correct letters were called and puzzles were solved. We all groaned at bankrupts and missteps.
After three shows were taped there was a break for lunch. Back to the green room for sandwiches or pizza. Finally, it was time for show four, MY show! Earlier we had drawn a number for our positions at the wheel and I had drawn number one, the coveted spot next to Pat (that would merit a smiley face or heart, maybe both, on a Facebook post)! As I entered the studio I searched for my family in the audience. My husband later said that you couldn't have knocked the grin off of my face with a 2 x 4! I was pumped!
This is the part where I should tell you how the game went. I truly don't remember the exact order that things occurred (did I mention that I was the oldest contestant there that day, surrounded by a bunch of young whippersnappers?!). I know that I solved a toss up puzzle, won the 'wild card' and didn't land on bankrupt or lose a turn. I know that not knowing a puzzle as soon as I should have (Weekend Weather Forecast) enabled me to win a car because I had to keep spinning and landed on both halves of the car in that one round. I know that I savored every moment as the show flew by. When the final puzzle was solved and the dust had settled, I was the big winner, headed for the bonus round!
Pat led me to the bonus wheel and after I introduced my family in the audience, I spun. My letter picking was good and, fortunately, I wasn't 'Thrown For A Loop,' which was the solution for that puzzle. When Pat revealed my prize I learned that I had won another car! My family joined me and we ran over to my car. My cash and prizes totaled over $63,000 dollars but, my Wheel experience was priceless.My Facebook status for that night read in part: WHEEEEEL OF FORTUNE!
Memories were made today. 'My' show will air on Jan. 3. I so appreciated all of the support & enthusiasm you all have shown throughout my WOF adventure. Thank you Wheel of Fortune for giving me my own fairy tale to tell, complete with a happy ending!