LAKE STEVENS — Jake Douglas said in a recent Herald story that he’d never been that good with words or hangman.
The former high school wrestling standout almost proved it on Monday’s “Wheel of Fortune” when he butchered “Food Fight in the Cafeteria” in a puzzle, saying “on” instead of “in.” This was after scoreless Jake bought an “o” and Pat Sajak told him there were two in what should have been an easy solve.
So, no, it wasn’t looking good for Jake.
The Twitterverse took aim over his food fight foul-up with quips such as “There’s a reason those college kids are on #WheelOfFortune instead of #Jeopardy” and “That kid on #WheelofFortune should be expelled from school immediately.”
But Jake, a good sport with a ready smile and nonstop charisma, came from behind to steal the show in the “College Week Spring Break” episode.
He won about $50,000 in cash and prizes, including a $6,600 Maui vacation and a Volkswagen Golf GTI valued at $35K.
“It was just surreal. For starters I wasn’t expecting to be on the show let alone make it to the final round, let alone get the final puzzle right,” he said.
He said his parents were surprised as well.
To prepare, Jake, 21, a Cal Poly junior studying graphic communications in San Luis Obispo, played the “Wheel of Fortune” game on his Xbox with friends for a few months.
As a kid, he watched the show on occasion with his mom if he was really bored. Which wasn’t often. After all, he has three older brothers who kept him busy.
He auditioned on a lark when he was a freshman when the Wheelmobile came to campus a couple of years ago.
Monday’s show was taped a month ago. Jake had to keep his lips sealed about his good fortune until after it aired.
He solved the phrase “I’ve always wanted to go there” to win the Maui vacation.
After Sajak complimented Jake on his “wrestling spin” in the bonus round, the college student solved “It might be helpful” to win the car.
“A bunch of sounds started happening,” Jake said. “Everyone starts cheering. My two friends who were there come running out there and drag me over to the car screaming, hyping me up. Cameras everywhere. They throw me in the passenger seat of the car.”
He didn’t get to drive it off the set. “I don’t get the prizes until four months after the show airs,” he said.
There might be another Douglas on TV in the future.
“I submitted an application for my older brother Brady for ‘The Bachelor,’” Jake said. “He’s 30.”