Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Local 'Wheel of Fortune' Contestant Watches Performance at Lazy Toad with Family, Friends

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Local 'Wheel of Fortune' Contestant Watches Performance at Lazy Toad with Family, Friends

Article excerpt

Growing up in Topeka, Luke Thompson dreamed of one day being a contestant on "Wheel of Fortune," the nation's longest-running syndicated game show which first aired in 1975.

"I used to watch the 'Wheel of Fortune' every night as a kid after I did the dishes or during dinner," he said. "My mom always said I should be on 'Wheel of Fortune,' that I should be on that show."

The episode that Thompson taped on Dec. 18 aired on Monday night on WIBW-13. He watched the show at the Lazy Toad at Fairlawn Plaza Shopping Center, surrounded by an estimated 200 of his family, friends and business associates. The crowd cheered whenever he guessed a vowel or consonant correctly and erupted whenever he solved one of the puzzles like "Penny For Your Thoughts" or "Meteorologist."

In 2007, at the age of 25, Thompson said he signed up on the game show's website to be notified when the show's "Wheelmobile" would be in the region. He said it wasn't until 2013 that he was notified that he would need to be at Kansas City's Power and Light district for nearly two days of auditions.

"I put my name in a tumbler and I was drawn in the first hour," Thompson recalled. "I had to act like I was a volleyball coach and hype the crowd up. You then play the game on the stage. I played the game and I did well."

The game show producers then sent Thompson a letter in 2014, telling him they wanted him to take part in a call-back event.

"I went back to a big convention hotel room and played with like 100 people," he said. "Then you take a test and they send you out of the room and then you come back in the room and they send half the people out and you play the game again. Except for this time, you go to the front of the room and you introduce yourself and you ham it up a little bit more. Then you play again and then you get a letter that tells you you're on 'Wheel of Fortune.' "

Thompson said he had dislocated his shoulder the first time he earned the opportunity to appear on the game show. However, he said he remained eligible to compete and was eventually able to work back through part of the auditioning process and was chosen again. …

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