Santa Barbara resident enjoys victory on ‘Wheel of Fortune’
A Santa Barbara mother of two tried her hand at America’s Game and walked away nearly $10,000 richer with a free trip to Saint Lucia, an island country in the West Indies.
Allison Wooten, a Santa Barbara resident for more than eight years and a City College alumna, won episode No. 7257 of “Wheel of Fortune” on Oct. 20, as a part of “Wheel Across America” week.
Five fateful puzzles spun Mrs. Wooten to victory: “somewhere off the beaten path,” “feeling inspired,” “soft pretzel,” “hard-boiled egg” and “medium-rare steak.”
Needless to say, the avid “Wheel of Fortune” viewer was “feeling inspired” as she lived out what she’s been watching every night with her husband for years.
As a player, she got to meet Pat Sajak, the show’s longtime host, and Vanna White, the longtime co-host who points to the letters in the puzzles. “They were both super nice,” Mrs. Wooten told the News-Press.
“It felt very once-in-a-lifetime,” she said. “You know how you tell yourself you’re going to do things in life, and sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t … It was fun to follow through with this one.”
The champion aimed for shock value in her audition, and one can assume it worked in her favor.
“I actually prepared a rap to get them to remember me,” she said. “It was memorable. I think it’s a mix of being gregarious and being able to solve puzzles.”
This wasn’t Mrs. Wooten’s first application either. She applied a few years ago and was selected for an audition, but she was eight months pregnant, so she decided not to go.
However, during COVID-19, she tried again, as a “fun thing to do aside from thinking about all the depression.”
Once she was selected, the stay-at-home mother began preparing, reading articles on game theory and studying the most common letters and pairs.
“I think I was almost too overprepared, but when I started playing, my mind just went blank for the first half of the game. It was like a surreal state,” Mrs. Wooten said. “The wheel is very, very heavy. Really heavy. I could only spin it halfway around.”
But once she got to the triple toss-up, she said she finally got the swing of things.
Although she won the game, she couldn’t solve the final puzzle, “I applaud you.”
“Every single morning I wake up and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get the final puzzle,” Mrs. Wooten said. “It’s been excruciating.”
She said her family enjoyed seeing her on the TV, including her son Walker, who will turn 3 in November, and her daughter Lyla, who will turn 2 during the same month.
“Wheel of Fortune” isn’t the only game show in Mrs. Wooten’s wheelhouse, though.
The game show enthusiast is now setting her sights on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” She’s also an avid viewer of “Jeopardy!,” but thinks the pace might be a little too quick for her.
Both “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” are filmed at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. Because of COVID-19, fans can submit applications virtually, so Ms. Wooten encourages everyone to apply to go on the show since it’s never been easier.
“Just do it. You never know if you can do it until you try.”