Katy King spins the Wheel of Fortune

Gary Zupancic, Staff Reporter

Katy King on Wheel of Fortune. (Photo by Carol Kaelson)

One of the most popular TV Game Shows in the world featured a Wimberley resident on their December 20, 2017 program. Local Katy King was a contestant on the show. Spoiler alert. She didn’t win a car or the game, but she had a great time doing it.

Katy is a member of the Wheel Watchers Club and sent an application into their website and received an email saying that tryouts would be held at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. About 50 others competed with her and 25 of the contestants were picked, after playing the game.  

Of course, WOF producers taped the game’s contestants for perusal. The producers at the tryouts would be the same producers from start to end of their appearance on the show.

They were told that if they were picked they would receive an email in two weeks. In two weeks, nothing was received. “Three days later, my husband got the email. I was chosen. And my birthday was two days later,” Katy said.

The producers phoned about a month later, and asked her if she could fly out to Los Angeles. Of course the answer was yes. They were given a choice of options at Los Angeles hotels, which Katy and her husband Ryan paid for at a reduced price. Contestants also pay for their own travel.

A shuttle picked them up at the hotel and transported them to Sony Pictures Studio at 7:15 a.m., with about 18 contestants going to the show. Once there they were broken down to six groups of three and taping for the whole week was done on one day.

Breakfast was provided and every one of the contestants was nervous. Paperwork had to be filled out. Then it was Wheel practice time. “The Wheel weighs over 140 lbs. and there is a proper way to spin. Everyone was cheering and Vanna White came out behind me, with no makeup and in everyday wear. She was just beautiful. Vanna’s company, a yarn business, has 50% of the profits going to St. Jude’s. She’s really down to earth.”

On the Wheel’s set, the individual platforms on which contestants and Pat Sajak stand are hydraulic to keep everyone the same height. After watching other contestants compete, it was time to get mic’ed up.

“Then it hits you. There are millions of people watching you. I was a nervous wreck… I hit bankrupt. Between the commercials I said, ‘Katy get it together’.

She went on to get two half cars, but she guessed the wrong answer with “Happiness and Cheers” while the answer was Happiness and Cheer. She lost the cars and ended up getting the parting gift of $1000. Enough to pay for plane travel and the hotel.

“It was absolutely great, amazing to see. The studio was small but looks big on TV…and the outcome had to be kept secret,” something written in the contract.  

“The best part was playing the game, even with lots of nerves and being next to Pat.

“It was a sight to see. It was the same studio where Judy Garland and the Wizard of Oz filmed the tornado scene. We couldn’t be loud in the dressing room as next door “Jeopardy” was being filmed.” 

Watching the show every night with her family was a tradition. “I always said I’d be on that show while growing up…and honestly it was a dream come true,” Katy said.

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