My Wheel of Fortune Contest


‘Tis the season of contests for me, it appears. I spent this past weekend in Cicero (northern Syracuse), NY. Why? A couple weeks ago, I received an invitation on line from Wheel of Fortune (I’m a registered Wheel Watcher) to participate in their tryouts—in Cicero, of course. So, I high-tailed it to Cicero early Saturday morning (June 1).

Applications were handed out a half hour before the first “show” began. We were second in line for those apps. I’d been in a previous try-out in NYC several years ago, so I knew this would be a regular lottery-type event. Even so, this time it was run differently and I learned some ropes as I went along.

About 15 minutes before the “show” began, they allowed people to insert their filled-out applications into the slotted box. Immediately after submitting their forms, everybody surged forward to the stage. Paul had brought lawn chairs, so we parked and watched the crowd.

By the way, this event was held in Driver’s Village—a huge indoor mall where all types of car dealerships reside. Fortunately, there was also one little café that bravely provided a crowd-pleasing survival kit of smoothies, croissant sandwiches, and delicious sweets.

Back to the process. All the applications (about 4” X 5” paper) were then picked up and poured into a big tumbler. Marty, the host, then worked the crowd. I mean, he WORKED us. He told us what was required of a potential WOF player. Bottom line is ENERGY. I don’t know how he kept going through the whole two days, because he shouted, he cajoled, he jumped (high!), he kept the crowd stirred up, energized, participating wildly for all three shows both days.

Okay, the “show” began with Marty pumping up the crowd and introducing their WOF sponsors, their local radio show hosts, their Wheelmobile show manager, and eventually, of course, Tracey Wilson, the Wheelmobile Vanna. (She was beautiful and wore a dress size smaller than zero, if there is such a thing.)

Then Tracey tumbled the applications, selected at random five of them. Marty called out the names and those people were each photographed, signed a release or something, and were led up on stage. Another five names were called to stand by. Each of the five persons on stage was interviewed by Marty and then a final round game was played. And each participant received a few prizes.

Each “show” consisted of about five of these games, so about 25 people went through. There was just about a half hour between shows, so poor Marty barely had time to rest.

It was too bad that some people put their names in, just for laughs. And, of course, a few of them were called up. Go figure! About the third such person who said that to Marty was finally boo-ed by the crowd and Marty spoke at length about how those people entering their names on a lark were preventing serious contestants, people who had watched Wheel religiously for years and were here to live their dream of making it on the show, from living that dream. Of course, you could tell the non-players once the game began. Duh!

So, no, my name didn’t get called. And I put in an application for each of the three shows on both days. I participated in the bally-hoo, had a blast, came home hoarse and beyond exhausted. And if they invite me again, I’ll gladly go through it all again.

I met new people, got some great photos, and had a wonderful, fun experience. (P.S. Sorry–I tried to upload several photos to intersperse this post, but obviously they didn’t appear. Guess I don’t have the magic.)

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