Posted March 29, 2016

Owl to appear on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Matthew Velasquez, Class of 2019, traveled to Los Angeles to appear on the program during College Road Trip Week.

Matthew Velasquez standing in front of a window, wearing a cherry Temple sweatshirt.
Ryan S. Brandenberg
Matthew Velasquez, Class of 2019, will represent Temple during 'Wheel of Fortune's' College Road Trip Week.

A student from Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management lived out a lifelong dream when he spun the big wheel on Wheel of Fortune.

Matthew Velasquez, Class of 2019, traveled to Los Angeles recently to tape his episode, part of the show’s College Road Trip Week. The episode will air nationally Wednesday, March 30, on ABC. The sophomore Tourism and Hospitality Management major, a self-proclaimed “huge fan” of the syndicated game show, couldn’t wait for his chance to meet hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

“I just feel like it’s a dream,” said Velasquez. “I still can’t believe I’ll be appearing on the show, trying to solve the puzzles. Right now, it’s exciting and nerve-wracking all at once.”

Velasquez had hoped to complete an in-person tryout for the show while on vacation in Los Angeles last summer. When his trip had come and gone, and he hadn’t heard from Wheel of Fortune representatives, Velasquez assumed his opportunity had passed.

“Then,” he said, “I received a call that changed everything.”

A producer notified Velasquez that he’d been picked for an October audition at The Westin Philadelphia, for Wheel’s annual College Road Trip Week. The first rounds of the audition gauged the energy of 60 prospective contestants as they called out letters, and tested their ability to complete written exams of practice puzzles. Velasquez advanced to the third round, where 15 contestants simulated spinning the wheel and introducing themselves to a contestant search team.

Two weeks later, Velasquez received a letter that he’d made the cut and would participate in a taping of the show.

“I’ll put it this way—not only was that letter unexpected, but I don’t think I’ve ever before been that excited in my life,” he said.

Read the full story.

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—Christopher A. Vito, SMC '07