Back in February, we held a contest as we often do on 5NEWS called the “Wheel of Fortune Branson Giveaway.”
In it, we offered to send a winner on the trip of a lifetime complete with the chance to audition for Wheel of Fortune.
What happened next was truly something to be thankful for.
The small town of Ozark is the kind of place where you might think nothing ever changes. But at Vicki Wright’s house things have changed a lot lately. And it all started with a phone call.
“It was Thursday night the contest was going to be over Friday night and I got lucky,” Wright said. “I had called every night, every single night and I never missed a night. It was at 10:13 p.m., I’ll never forget.”
With that, this wife, mother, and grandmother became a semi-finalist in the 5NEWS Wheel of Fortune Branson Giveaway.
She won an all-expenses paid trip to Branson, and the chance at a trip to Los Angeles, complete with an audition for Wheel of Fortune.
“I was watching the 10 o’clock news and it showed grand prize winner… Vicki Wright of Ozark… and I went ‘Oh my god, I know her!’” said Susan Patterson, a friend of Wright’s.
Wright was headed to L.A. but she wasn’t going alone.
“I was home and she called and she said you wanna go to California with me? And I went… ‘Sean’s not gonna go?’ And she said, ‘No, he’s not going to get to.’ So I said… ‘Heck yeah, I’ll go with you!’” Patterson said.
In early October, Wright and Patterson flew from XNA to Orange County California for four days.
“Nothing like L.A. Nothing. There’s 12 lanes of traffic. Oh my gosh,” Wright said.
On day two, Wright got her chance to audition for Wheel.
The unexpected star of the audition?
“They really liked my dog’s name: ‘Cujo,’” Wright said. “I said he was the most faithful member of my family and they really liked his name. I mean, even the three people that did the audition were like they were laughing and clapping their hands and stuff. So I told Susan… if they pick me, it’s going to be all thanks to Cujo.”
Cujo joined Wright’s family three years ago following the death of another beloved pet.
“We had lost our dog… he had Addison’s Disease, which is an adrenaline problem… and it really, really crushed me,” Wright said. “And I was like… ‘I don’t know Sean, I don’t think I’m ready yet.’ Because it broke my heart when Sugar died. He brought him home to me and we’ve loved him ever since.”
The next day, Wright and Patterson attended a taping of America’s Game live, in studio, with Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
“And Pat Sajak is a little short guy,” Patterson said. “You wouldn’t think it because he’s up by the wheel so he’s as tall as the rest of them.”
“They’re just real down to earth people,” Wright said. “Both of them. She’s beautiful and he’s just the gentleman. And it was really awesome.”
They came home, with lots of souvenirs, photos, and memories. But what about the audition?
“I tried to not be hopeful but I couldn’t help but to be hopeful, you know? And then she called me. In less than a week. She called me in 6 days. And I mean I just completely flipped out. I couldn’t believe that they had picked me.”
As it turns outs a little hope and a chuhuahua with a funny name would go a long way.
“She said ‘Do you still have your dog? Cujo?’ And I said… ‘YES!’” Wright said.
“I am so excited for Vicki,” Patterson said. “She’s a good player, and she’s so high strung anyway. She has just as well an opportunity as anyone else to bring home the big money, or the big prizes, or the big trips.”
“Oh, if it wasn’t for KFSM I wouldn’t have ever had a chance to get this far. Ever. It was… it was just… awesome,” Wright said.
Wright has already gone back to L.A. and taped her episode of Wheel of Fortune.
So how’d she do? Well, she can’t tell us. But you can watch her play right here on Channel Five in February. Of course, she appears during ‘Pet Lover’s Week.’