Cy-Fair resident Ashley Rieck Wimberley shares her amazing experience on the popular TV show, Wheel of Fortune
Written by Lorrie Crow Kimble
Ashley Rieck Wimberley, a 2004 graduate of Jersey Village High School, will most likely never forget the words “investment tips.” Why? Because those two words earned her $4,700 as a contestant on the TV show, Wheel of Fortune.
“I landed on the $5,000 space, which was right next to the bankruptcy space, and I guessed the letter ‘P,’ then bought two ‘I’s,” says Ashley, who was able to solve the puzzle with just those letters.
Puzzles and Personalities
Wimberley says she has watched Wheel of Fortune her entire life. During one show, the program director said they were taking applications for contestants, so she applied online. “I got an email from the show in November asking if I would like to come to an audition at the Westin Galleria,” Wimberley says. She accepted and auditioned the second week of December. “At the audition, they did a personality check and watched to see how we interacted with people. There was also a five-minute quiz to fill in the blanks of a puzzle,” she says. After being notified that she was selected as a contestant, Wimberley flew to Culver City, California to tape the show. Her theme category, “Trips and Getaways,” aired March 4. Some of the perks included a discounted hotel and a $1,000 reward for participation if she didn’t win any puzzles.
An Amazing Experience
To prepare for the show, Wimberley watched as much Wheel of Fortune as she could. The night before, she prepared by going to bed very early and having a healthy breakfast before taping. “I was so nervous, the contestant on my right had the wheel the whole time, and I had no money. I didn’t earn a prize until the final round,” she adds. Wimberley, who describes herself as a “people person” says, “When you see all the cameras, trying to keep your composure is hard.” Although she didn’t win, Wimberley feels the experience was, “the coolest thing ever.”
Meeting Pat and Vanna
Wimberley says that the best part about being on the show was meeting Pat Sajak and Vanna White, and seeing them in action. Pat’s advice was to “keep your smiles going,” while White was kind and approachable in her workout outfit. After the show, Wimberley was excited to call her family, who held a watch party in March. “We signed a privacy agreement that stated we were not allowed to share any information on social media until after the show aired,” she says.
Going for It in the Future
Today, Wimberley and her Wheel of Fortune Facebook group made up of people from all over the U.S., are planning for future games. “In two years, we are all going to try to go to the Price is Right.” For others who have always wanted to be a contestant but are too timid, she says, “If you’re a people person, go for it. Take a leap of faith because life is short.” What about that $4,700 she won? “We’ll be spending it on our baby boy who is due in December.” CFM
LORRIE CROW KIMBLE is a freelance writer and loves watching Wheel of Fortune whenever she visits her parents.