LAKE STEVENS — Former high school standout wrestler Jake Douglas has changed his game.
He’s on tonight’s “Wheel of Fortune” at 7 p.m. on KOMO-TV.
Jake, 21, a Cal Poly junior studying graphic communications, is on the first of six “College Week Spring Break” shows. The special week gives students a shot at winning new cars, fancy vacations and other adulting luxuries.
“Wheel of Fortune” debuted in 1975.
For millions of families, it’s a nightly ritual to try to solve the hangman puzzle or yell at a clueless contestant to buy a vowel. At Jake’s house, that’s where you’d find his mom, Terry. His dad, Steve, and older brothers Chad, Rory and Brady, not so much.
“I’d watch it every once in a while if bored. I was terrible,” Jake said. “I’ve never been the best with words or hangman. My parents were a little surprised when I told them I was going to be on ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ ”
He was surprised as well. He said he’s more cut out for a reality TV show.
Jake was a Cal Poly freshman with an hour to kill between classes when he stumbled upon a “Wheelmobile” on the San Luis Obispo campus midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
After a short audition, he was selected for an elimination event 25 miles away with about 100 students from other colleges. It was an expensive Uber ride for a broke college student.
“We went through mock games,” he said. “They were looking for who would be good on camera with a good voice to call out letters.”
It paid off. Jake made the cut.
He was told they’d get back to him in a year or two. Time went by and Jake, who wrestled for Cal Poly his first two years, pretty much forgot about it until notified a few months ago.
That’s when he started practicing, Generation Z style. “I downloaded a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ game on my Xbox and played that with my friends,” he said.
“I only watched one episode before I went on there.”
Last month, on his own dime, he drove the 185 miles to Sony Studios in Culver City, California, for the taping of the show.
It started with spin practice. “Reach all the way over. Push through. The wheel is a lot heavier than you’d expect.”
That wrestling background came in handy.
He met Vanna White during prepping before the show.
“She walks into the room, no makeup, nothing,” he said. “She has this white purse with ‘Vanna White’ spelled out in game show letters with a few of the letters blanked out. Everyone was complimenting her on that. She was just in normal casual clothes, just hanging out. The way she walks into a room, everyone knows who she is.”
And Pat Sajak?
“He is charismatic guy, naturally humorous. He makes you feel more comfortable on the show.”
You have to watch the show to find out if Jake scored any good fortune.
Wheeling and dealing
Want to play Vanna’s Dress Madness? In this online game, Vanna’s favorite 32 dresses are divided into four brackets. Vote on the winner.
Even if you pull off a dress like Vanna, you can sport Wheelmania. Start the baby young with a “Wheel of Fortune” onesie.
Funko makes Vanna and Pat Pop! figures.
More info: www.wheeloffortune.com