I was about 19 and in college at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo. I was obsessed with Wheel of Fortune and saw that you could sign up online to try to get an audition to be on the show. I signed up and months later got an email asking me to come down to Culver City to do an audition! I guess they randomly select people that sign up on the website to audition. There may have been some screening, because they asked a lot of questions on the sign up page.
Anyway, I drove down to Culver City on a Friday to the Ramada Inn where the auditions were taking place. I went into a room with about 50 other people, all of us taking a seat. We then went through several group activities, mostly pretending that we were playing Wheel Of Fortune. We also did some puzzles, similar to crosswords.
We were told that if we were picked to be on the show, we would probably have to come to an earlier taping and be a backup, just so we could see how everything works.
I left that night and drove back north to SLO.
A few weeks later I was in class and got a phone call from some LA number. I didn't answer and went into the hall to listen to the message at a class break. To my surprise it was the woman from the auditions saying that a contestant had dropped out and they needed a fill-in asap! I called her back immediately and they gave me a date that my show would be filmed!
I went back down to Culver City a month or two later and we filmed the show. They film a whole week's episodes in one day, and mine was last in the week. I sat through 4 other episodes until I was up.
I was extremely nervous, but it was a ton of fun!
The show aired a few months later and I taped in on my DVR. This is it!
(Don't mind my nerdy long hair and weird sweater!)
P.S. We got to meet Vanna White backstage before the taping, and she was cool. We briefly also met Pat before the show. He was awesome. During the commercials, they come by and pat your face with makeup and you chit chat with each other and with Pat.