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Meet the Sioux Falls Woman Set to Appear on Wheel of Fortune

Woman on Wheel of Fortune
Photo Courtesy of Carol Kaelson

Next Friday (April 20) Tracey Meyer will be spinning the wheel, buying vowels, and doing what a lot of us do in our minds every evening from the couch.

They filmed the episode on Tracy’s birthday, so we will have to tune in to find out if it brought her some good luck.

I’m always curious about the behind the scenes and process of how things work so I had to ask Tracy a few questions about her experience.

How long have you been a fan of the show?

I’ve been watching WOF as long as I can remember- growing up, it was a staple in our house with our nightly routine of supper, news, then the wheel!

How did you decide to audition for Wheel of Fortune?

I’ve tried to incorporate this tradition with my own family, when time allows amongst the numerous evening activities. My 9 year old son, Christian, has prompted me for quite some time to “try out” for the show.  I typically would laugh it off, but decided to check into it one evening this past December. The process was extremely easy- including an online application paired with a photo or video- I chose to send a photo.

Where did you have to go for the audition?

3 weeks later, I received an email from the casting crew at WOF stating they would be in Omaha and requested my RSVP to attend an audition. At first, I didn’t believe it and thought this had to be a joke, until I called to inquire, and realized that it was indeed legit!

What was the audition process like?

I had no idea what to expect, other than a brief email stating the logistics of the day- The entire process was about 2-3 hours. I entered a ballroom in a hotel, along with 60 other individuals from surrounding states (Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Kansas), and was greeted by 4 individuals known as the casting crew, which I would also work with later on throughout my show prep and tape day.  Part one consisted of random selections, as they would announce your name to call letters, buy vowels, observe your strategy and overall presence and articulation skills. Part two consisted of a timed puzzle exercise, in which you were given 5 minutes to solve as many written puzzles as possible. The crew then exited with the tests, and “scored” appropriately. I love word games/puzzles, but this was pretty intense! After 40 minutes, the crew called a few names of individuals to take a further look at, and the rest were dismissed.  We were told that if selected, we’d receive a formal letter in the mail in exactly 2 weeks.  I was stalking my mail box that final week and received my letter of congratulations exactly 2 weeks to the day!

Did you practice in any way before you were on?

Of course! I practiced on my WOF app when possible. Also, watching the show and completing various crossword puzzles leading up to the big day, was recommended.

Were you nervous before it started?

YES! So many things going through my head- Luckily, I met several other contestants in the lobby at our hotel as we were waiting for the shuttle to arrive.  After visiting, a sense of relief came across me, as we were all in this and feeling the jitters together!

Was it more difficult solving puzzles while on the show than watching at home?

Absolutely!  I will never judge another WOF contestant on a major screw-up, as it’s a completely different experience than solving puzzles at home on the couch! Your focus is on so many factors including; the puzzle board, timer, alphabet board, wheel, contestant standings, and of course the bright lights and cameras.  All of this, while you are trying to pay attention to the game and solve the puzzle.

Was there anything about the process, set, or Pat and Vanna you were not aware of until taping?

The set was more condensed than it of course appears on T.V.  The wheel is much smaller, and incredibly heavy! The amount of prep before the show is crazy- not only for the contestants, but the crew. The process from start to finish (application-filming) was about 3 months- everything happened quite fast!  I had 3 weeks notice on my tape day- so had to organize life quickly in order to commit.

Was it what you expected it would be like?

Yes and No.  I don’t think a person really knows what to expect, especially when appearing on a major T.V. program for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised in the overall communication process with the staff and how genuinely nice and accommodating all employees were including: casting, producers, camera operators, Jim- the announcer, make-up department, legal, and of course Pat and Vanna. I have to admit I was a bit star struck! Vanna entered our contestant area, and greeted all of us- she was wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, and sneakers- so refreshing to see the “real Vanna”.  Pat’s main goal was to help us feel at ease- and he was just as funny in person as he appears on t.v.

Is there any other game show you would like to give a shot?

In the past, I loved Press Your Luck (the whammy show)- the younger folks may not have any clue on that one! The $25,000 Pyramid was always a favorite, but I think I will savor my wheel experience, as it truly was my childhood dream!

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