April 7, 2014

Student to Appear on Wheel of Fortune

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When Enoch Newkirk ’14 was four years old, he never imagined that he would be a contestant on his favorite television show — but that dream came true when he flew to Los Angeles in February to film an episode of ABC’s Wheel of Fortune.

“I always wanted to be on the show when I was old enough,” said Newkirk, who is also a Sun photographer.

The episode will air Thursday at 7 p.m. as part of the show’s annual “College Week.”

Newkirk said he found an application on the website last year and filled it out on a whim.

After the show selected his application for auditions, he traveled to Syracuse to try out for the show among 100 others, he said. By the end of the audition process, Newkirk was one of only 20 college students from around the country to appear on the show.

After growing up watching the game show, Newkirk said he was surprised to learn what it was like to be on the other side of the television screen.

“As you see on TV the set looks so big, but when I walked onto the set, it was smaller than I thought it would be. The audience was only maybe about 100 people and the wheel wasn’t as big as I thought. It was only six feet across but it was really heavy,” he said.

Newkirk added that the game went by much faster than he expected it to. By the end of the taping, he said he did not realize that he had just played on

According to Newkirk, the secret to being selected to compete on the show is to be enthusiastic and have good sportsmanship.

To be chosen as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, he said that applicants needed to be excited and play the game strategically. Using certain skills and strategies, such as calling out the most common letters of the English language, buying vowels as soon as possible and being able to solve the puzzles helped Newkirk gain a coveted spot on the show, he said.

Although Newkirk needed to pay for his own hotel accommodations and plane ticket to Los Angeles, he said he would repeat the entire experience again.

“It was a lot of fun,” Newkirk said. “Everyone should at least try out for it because you never know — you may end up being chosen.”