Florida woman wins big on ’Wheel of Fortune’
NORTH PALM BEACH — A “Wheel of Fortune” fan for 30 years, Marci Hyland figured her appearance on the classic game show was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
So she took risks — and the North Palm Beach woman thinks it paid off. Hyland racked up a bit more than $69,000 in cash and prize winnings on an episode of “Wheel of Fortune” that aired Wednesday evening but was taped in early March.
“I like game shows, so that’s kind of my thing,” Hyland said Thursday. “But I never would’ve dreamed in a million years this would happen.”
Hyland’s winnings included $37,000 from the ever-tricky bonus round that caps the nightly broadcast.
It was a tough puzzle to solve. Even host Pat Sajak said “Oh boy” before the 65-year-old Hyland started guessing.
But Hyland cracked the code in about six seconds: “Jot down a few words.”
“I was just like, ’What is this?’ because I didn’t have a whole lot to work with,” she said. “It just clicked.”
Some insights from Hyland for ’Wheel’ fans at home: The wheel itself, weighing in at about 2,400 pounds, is impressively heavy. Contestants need to fill out “a ton” of paperwork before they hit the stage. Sajak and Vanna White were both quite kind and Sajak is a pro at keeping contestants calm.
That helped Hyland, who described her demeanor as that of “a nervous wreck.”
She started a series of audition tests last fall when the show came to the Miami area looking for contestants.
Just after Thanksgiving, Hyland received a letter saying she was selected — “I started screaming” — and then she was notified earlier this year that her episode would be taped in early March.
Even then, before coronavirus social distancing efforts began in earnest, Hyland said the show seemed to be battening down the hatches. There was no audience and Sajak didn’t shake hands with contestants.
“Right after we left, I think they shut down,” she said.
Hyland expects to receive her winnings, which include a trip to Aruba, in a few months. No, she doesn’t know yet what she’ll do with the money.
“You saw the outcome,” she said. “I just had so much fun.”
Post staff writer Kristina Webb contributed to this report.