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Nancy Larson spins Wheel of Fortune
MARYSVILLE It was very nerve wracking, said city resident Nancy Larson. I was actually shocked that I even went and did it.
What Larson went out and did was win $12,000 and a seven-day trip to Switzerland.
According to information provided by a show spokesperson, about 1 million people apply annually to appear on TVs Wheel of Fortune. Only about 600 are selected.
Larson said she applied on the shows Web site to be a contestant over three years ago.
Id just written it off, figured Id never even hear from them, she added.
Producers certainly made Larson wait, but she got her chance to spin the wheel during a taping near Los Angeles Nov. 28. The show she appeared on airs Jan. 11.
Larson solved two puzzles during the show.
Im actually pretty happy about how I did, she said. Larson added she fell about $2,000 in winnings short of being that shows biggest winner and heading on to the bonus round.
The two puzzles Larson solved were Thinly sliced Swiss cheese and Dalmatians. The first led, logically enough, to the seven-day trip she and husband Jason will take some time this year. The second was a toss-up puzzle.
After sending in that almost forgotten application, Larson said she got a call from producers in September. Along with about 50 others, she wound up at an audition in downtown Seattle. Participants provided some biographical information, Larson said, then played a sort of watered down version of the game. The mock game didnt feature the shows trademark wheel, but apparently did include some word puzzles for solving by would-be contestants.
I think they just wanted to get a feel for who we were and how we would act, Larson said.
Applicants also had to take a written test consisting, of course, of fill-in-the-blank word puzzles such as those that are used on the show. Based on that test, producers slashed the number of contestants from 50 to 20. Larson said those remaining played another round or two of the game.
Eventually, producers told her she might get a call to appear on the show sometime in the next 12 to 18 months. The call arrived a lot sooner and Larson and her husband were on their way to Los Angeles.
According to Larson, six Wheel of Fortune shows are taped back to back. Chosen contestants and their family members sit in the audience and watch until the players get their chance to go up on stage. Larson said watching the show and being on it definitely are two entirely separate things.
Its a whole different perspective, she added. Larson really didnt meet the shows stars, Pat Sayjack and Vanna White, though Sayjack came over to shake her hand on camera after she solved her two puzzles. Larson did say she watched as White arrived for the tapings in sweats, looking a lot different than she does on air in fancy evening gowns.
Larson said shes watched the show for years, though shes not a slavish fan who has to get her fix every night. Daughter Mariah helped mom prepare for her on-air appearance, watching the show and practicing solving puzzles. Larson plans a party for family and friends around Fridays airing of the show on which she appeared. While shes excited and happy, she has no plans to try out for other shows.
Im thinking this was a once in a lifetime experience, she said.