After a lifetime of watching “Wheel of Fortune,” Eva Klentos thought she had the popular game show figured out.
“I’m sitting on my couch yelling at people, going, ‘You’re so stupid. You should have gotten those letters,’ ” the San Luis Obispo woman recalled with a chuckle. But as Klentos discovered after taking a spin on “Wheel of Fortune,” solving word puzzles on national television is harder than it looks.
“I went into (the taping) with a solid strategy. As soon as I got up there, all of that went out the window,” Klentos, 29, said with a laugh.
Klentos, a sales consultant for local solar energy company Sunrun, will appear on “Wheel of Fortune” on Thursday.
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She’s not the only San Luis Obispo County resident to compete on the show this year. Married couple Ron Akin and Vicki Neider of Paso Robles appeared on “Wheel of Fortune” in April, winning $6,800.
Hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, “Wheel of Fortune” is the longest running syndicated game show in U.S. history, celebrating its 35th season.
“Since I can remember, I used to watch (‘Wheel’) with my grandmother,” said Klentos, who grew up in Stockton. She moved to San Luis Obispo in 2006, graduating from Cal Poly in 2011 with a degree in statistics.
When the Wheelmobile stopped at a Paso Robles car dealership in March, Klentos went to try out with a friend. Additional tryouts came in April at La Bellasera Hotel & Suites in Paso Robles.
Klentos was celebrating her birthday in the Los Angeles area in September when she got the official call to go on “Wheel of Fortune.” She shot the “Home for the Holidays”-themed episode at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, with her mother, stepfather and sister-in-law in the audience cheering her on.
“It happened so quickly — so, so quickly” that the experience was a bit of a blur, Klentos recalled. “I don’t remember the puzzles. I don’t remember how I did.”
“When I watch (the episode) on Thursday, I’m going to be watching it for the first time,” added Klentos, who is planning a viewing party at her house for her friends, family members and coworkers. (She can’t discuss how she ultimately fared until the episode airs.)
Meanwhile, Klentos is setting her sights on her next game-show challenge. She’s already assembling her team for ABC’s “Family Feud.”
“There are some family members I’d ask” as opposed to others, she acknowledged with a chuckle.
Watch Eva Klentos compete on “Wheel of Fortune” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on KSBY.