Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Local woman tries her luck on Wheel of Fortune
By William Kincaid
CELINA - Bonnie Rutschilling always wanted to be on the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. But now that she's done that, she's not telling anyone how she did.
Anyone interested in the results will have to watch her performance at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WHIO and WLIO.
She hasn't even told her husband, Jim. Show officials strongly encouraged her not to tell anyone the results until the show aires. Only three of her sisters, a couple friends and one of her daughters, who attended the taping, know the outcome.
Rutschilling was one of 600 people selected from a pool of 10,000 aspiring Wheel contestants to appear on the show this year. She tried out for the show this spring in Los Angeles after visiting Las Vegas with her five sisters - of the Overman family in Maria Stein - who were celebrating someone's 50th birthday.
"My husband and I watch Wheel of Fortune all the time and he told me I had to get on there," she said.
During the tryout, Rutschilling - a manager at The Potter House on Main Street in Celina - said she had to introduce herself, call out letters as if she were playing the game and take a five minute written test of 16 different puzzles.
She was selected to move on to the next round, where she spun the wheel during an emulation of the show, and she and other applicants were told they would be notified if chosen.
The call came at the end of October, and Rutschilling and her supporters traveled to Los Angeles in the middle of October for a four-day trip that included the taping of the show and another stop in Las Vegas, where Rutschilling won $1,000 on a Wheel of Fortune slot-machine.
Six shows were taped in the one day.
The set is much smaller than what it appears on TV and Pat Sajak and Vanna White were very nice, she said. She saw White without makeup and her hair pulled back wearing jeans - she looked just like a normal, but very pretty and skinny person, Rutschilling said.
"He's a very funny, nice guy; he relaxes you," she said about Sajak.
She also said the wheel is heavy and somewhat difficult to spin.
"Enthusiasm is the main thing," she said when asked what qualities show producers look for in candidates.
She also recommended that anyone interested in trying out be themselves and genuine. Producers can tell if applicants are fake, she said.