After auditioning at the Wheel of Fortune open call in November at the Conway Sports Center, Jenna Morehart of Conway was chosen as a contestant and will appear on the Feb. 5 episode of the game show.
Morehart is a receptionist at Conway Family Medical Care and is completing her master's degree in biblical studies online through Liberty University in Virginia.
She said she almost did not go to the audition, but her husband, Tyler, "was dying to be on the show."
"I told him, 'There is no way we're going to get on that show.' I wasn't going to go. At the last minute, he and his brother were leaving I was going to go and watch one audition."
To her surprise, her name was called in the random drawing, and she had the chance to audition.
"We left thinking, 'That was a fun Saturday night.' They told us in front of the whole crowd if they liked you, they would send you an e-mail for the final audition, but it wouldn't come for a couple of months," she said.
Time went by, and the possibility of becoming a contestant was "out of sight, out of mind," Morehart said. Then shortly after Christmas, she received an e-mail inviting her to the final audition at the Capitol Hotel in Little Rock the following week.
"I thought, this is so crazy. I couldn't believe out of all those people This is not false humility I'm terrible at the game. My husband is the one who is good at the game," she said.
When she arrived at the final audition, she and the other potential contestants were taken through a series of games and then given a written test.
She said, "You were like, 'This is not a game. This is hard core. These people are so good, what am I doing here?'"
In spite of her anxiety, she was chosen for the top 10, she said.
"Then we had to tell about ourselves, almost like we were going to be on the show, like that little snippet Pat Sajak does at the beginning," she said.
She left thinking she'd had an enjoyable experience, but she never expected to hear from Wheel of Fortune again.
The next day, Morehart said, she was talking on the phone with her brother and two sisters, telling them the whole story. Her call waiting beeped, and she jokingly told them it was probably Wheel of Fortune and she would have to call them back.
It was Wheel of Fortune.
The show was having "a very unusual week." They had a cancellation and wanted her to be a contestant. She didn't know what to say.
"My initial thought was there's no way we can do this. It's Friday night; they want me to be in LA on Wednesday. Plane tickets are astronomical. You're guaranteed $1,000 on the show, but we wouldn't even break even."
Her parents helped them look for deals on tickets, and they were able to book two tickets and three nights in a hotel room for less than what one plane ticket would normally cost.
"The whole thing was so comical to me," she said. "My boss said it was fine, and we went ahead and booked it. My parents said 'This is a once in a lifetime thing. You've got to go.'"
Wheel of Fortune is taped in Culver City, Calif., outside Los Angeles, Morehart said. The theme of the show on which she is a contestant is Gone Fishin'.
"I kept thinking my husband would be so good at this. He's into anything outdoors. I went with intentions to win the $1,000 and break even. I thought, there's no way I'm going to solve a puzzle."
However, she did solve a puzzle, and she managed to win a trip to Paris in the bargain.
"I looked at my husband in the audience, and his mouth was just dropped open," she said. They have one year to take the trip.
"We had a really neat time, and it was a really good experience," she said.
Wheel of Fortune airs each weeknight at 6:30 on KATV.
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)