Secrets of the Wheel Part 2: Local Contestants share tips, tricks on how to win big on popular game show
Luckily, we have eyes on the inside: contestants.
A huge group from Southeastern Wisconsin had made it through in the past year thanks to local 'Wheelmobile' auditions. CBS 58's Jacob Kittilstad sat down with the latest crop to learn more about what happens behind the scenes.
Just to get it out of the way, there's the basic stuff lots of people already know about. The show will shoot six episodes in one day, Vanna never wears the same dress...
But for the three women we spoke to, their unique experiences had a lot to do with motherhood. (But we'll get to that)
The excitement of the wheel is still spinning for Melissa Rickey (Milwaukee), Maureen Clancy (Milwaukee), and Pam Schmidt (Muskego).
"And to have made it through my intro with Pat, that was good cause I was very nervous about that," Schmidt said.
"And I like to think of myself as a great puzzle solver...from my recliner, when it's always my turn. But once you get up there it's luck and skill," Schmidt said.
But as nervous as contestants were, they were pretty shocked at how relaxed the crew is.
"Again, I am way into my paperwork. Really paying attention looking at the granola bars that are available, thinking about a snack. And I look up and we've had people coming in-and-out of the room constantly. And when Vanna appeared before us - jeans, just a regular t-shirt with a hood on the back," Rickey said.
"A lot of people didn't even recognize her," Schmidt said.
But that laid-back attitude didn't rub off on everyone.
"And I got up there and I botched the first toss-up," Clancy said.
"And I think I was so frazzled from messing up that first one that I wasn't going in with gusto," Clancy said.
Clancy says she's kicking herself now - but when she applied to be on the show she actually had a baby kicking. Producers worked with her to find a good travel date post-delivery.
"So I was waiting to not only give birth but let him get old enough to fly because originally we were going to take caden with us," Clancy said.
"But I had to, can I? ...I had to pump," Clancy said with a laugh. "So I had my breast pump hanging up and my producer was like, I go 'I have to pump before I go on because I have to, you know?' And she was like 'Okay, no problem' and she comes up and she's like 'Well, we found an outlet' and it was in this closet. It was a closet like the size of this chair. And I sat with my feet up and pumped. And then she knocked and was like 'Are you done? It's time'."
Rickey had a bit of an opposite experience.
"About three days before I was set to fly out I realized I was pregnant," Rickey said.
"And so when I taped I was about 3-and-a-half, 4 weeks pregnant. And baby brain definitely plays a part, I like to think, in the solving of some of my puzzles," Rickey said.
"So my little baby doesn't know that they were on wheel of fortune too," Rickey said.
Schmidt says for her it was the perfect excuse to take her own daughter on a trip for her 21st birthday.
...an echo from her own past.
"I watched the show for 36 years - the entire time it's been on. It was my mom's favorite show and we'd watch it together and I'm sure she was smiling down, you know, that I was even on there. I felt lucky just to be on there," Schmidt said.
Click here to watch another "Secrets of the Wheel" story with a group of past Wisconsin contestants.