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Students spin the Wheel of Fortune

Students attend round two of auditions

By Sarah Hansell
On March 7, 2012

When sophomore Sam Schelfhout received a callback from the Wheel of Fortune inviting him to the second round of auditions, it was not just about coming one step closer to appearing on television.

Schelfhout has been thinking about being a candidate since he was a little kid and would watch Wheel of Fortune with his family at least five times a week.

"(My mom's) been saying all my life I should do it, and I would be the perfect candidate," Schelfhout said.

He grew up watching the show, and sees it as a time his family spends bonding.

"Wheel of Fortune taught me to spell," Schelfhout said. "That's what my mom claims."

On Feb. 21, Schelfhout received the email informing him he made the first cut after the initial round of auditions, which were held in Buckley Center Auditorium when Wheel of Fortune visited UP in October.

"I was pretty ecstatic, to tell the truth," Schelfhout said. "I called my family. They were stoked."

Schelfhout, along with 64 other candidates, made the final cut and is still in the running to appear on television.

The auditions were held in a conference room in the Marriot Hotel in downtown Portland.

During the Tuesday audition, Schelfhout and about 70 other candidates (some of them fellow UP students) watched a video of the history of the show. They then spun the wheel one by one, attempted to solve puzzles on the screen – much like on the show – and filled out a test with more puzzles.

During a 30-minute break, Schelfhout and the other candidates waited anxiously while the judges conferred about who to cut.

"It was a lot of pressure," he said. "You had the judges staring at you. You had to smile constantly, you have to clap, you have to have good body posture or whatever."

Besides being able to solve the puzzles, contestants were judged on enthusiasm and energy.

"They're looking for people that're excited to be there, people that looked like they were having a good time, not people that are the best at solving puzzles," Schelfhout said.

The remaining contestants, including Schelfhout and other UP students, attempted more puzzles on the screen and introduced themselves to the judges as though they were on the show.

"It's definitely not for shy people," senior Danielle Bibbs said.

After the audition, Schelfhout was exhausted but hopeful.

"By the end of it my cheeks hurt, my hands hurt from clapping so much," he said. "You were always being watched, so if you look bored (waiting) in your seat they probably see it and take it into account."

The people who made the cut will receive a letter sometime around spring break, informing them that they made it onto the show.

"I would be more than honored to be put on the show and represent our school, especially since I'm a senior," Bibbs said.

The prospect of being on television is a possibility that not many UP students have. The seventh graders at the school where senior Chloe' Ruffin, an education major who made it into the next round, does her field experience are excited at the chance of her being on television.

"I would be so pumped," Ruffin said. "All my students already said, ‘You have to give us a shout-out if you make it!'"

Schelfhout also has a fan he hopes will have the chance to see him as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.

"It's a really fun game and I want to make (my mom) happy," he said.


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