ELBURN – Elburn resident Stephanie Galley was sitting in her car on her lunch break on a September afternoon when she decided to make a short audition video of herself to submit to the long-running game show “Wheel of Fortune.”
“I’d always wanted to be on the show, and I just decided that day to do it,” Galley, 46, said. “My video was about how I like to travel, and I said that I liked it when [all the contestants] win a little bit of money.”
Not thinking too much of it, Galley was surprised when the producers invited her to come to an in-person audition in downtown Chicago just a few weeks later. And after a long autumn day doing mock shows at a Chicago hotel, Galley was selected to appear on the show. She flew out to Los Angeles in December, and her episode aired Feb. 12.
“We had to be at the studio [in Culver City, California] by 7:30 a.m., and they shoot six shows in one day. I was on the third taping [of the day],” she said. “Vanna [White, the show’s co-host] came around before hair and makeup to say hi to all of us, and she was very nice.”
Galley said the show’s host, Pat Sajak, chatted with her at the beginning of the show when the contestants are introduced, and made a few jokes with her. She ended up winning the first puzzle, as well as the Prize Puzzle, which was a trip to Egypt. She won one of the show’s new Triple Toss-Up puzzles, and ended up with the most money, sending her to the bonus round.
“I picked ‘People’ as my category, and none of the consonants I chose were in the puzzle, which was ‘outdoorsy guys,’” Galley said. “I would’ve won $37,000, so I was disappointed in myself. You’re only given one chance [to be on the show]. But when you think about the big picture, I was happy. I ended up with $13,200 in cash, plus the trip.”
It took her about a month to stop being mad at herself for losing the bonus round, but Galley said appearing on the show was worth it. She plans to take her trip to Egypt with her sister this fall.
“The people at ‘Wheel of Fortune’ were very nice, and they make you feel very comfortable,” she said. “It’s such a great experience, and was such a fun day. Definitely a bucket list experience for me. I would do it again tomorrow if I could.”