The wave of emotion hit as San Luis Obispo veterinarian Taralyn Meusel stood on the set of her favorite game show watching “Wheel of Fortune” hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White walk on stage.
“I could feel myself starting to cry,” recalled Meusel, who bit her tongue “really hard” to hold back the tears. “I had already exhausted the other emotions: excitement and nervousness and terror. That was all my body could do.”
Meusel, 35, will relive that experience — tears and tongue-biting alike — when her episode airs Wednesday on NBC.
Hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, “Wheel of Fortune” is the longest running syndicated game show in U.S. history. It recently celebrated its 35th season.
Meusel is the third San Luis Obispo resident to compete on the show in about two months.
In December, Sunrun sales consultant and Cal Poly graduate Eva Klentos won a car, a trip to Antigua and $32,100 in cash. Local tattoo artist Danny Derrick, who appeared on “Wheel of Fortune” on Jan. 5, took home $2, 200 in cash.
A lifelong “Wheel of Fortune” watcher and word puzzle fan, Meusel said she picked up the habit from her late grandparents. “I guess it’s a genetic thing that was imprinted on my DNA,” joked Meusel, who grew up in the Bay Area.
“I honestly don’t know what the rest of the world does at 7:30 p.m. on weeknights,” she added with a chuckle.
Meusel moved to the Central Coast in 2009 to work at Los Osos Pet Hospital. She currently treats cats and dogs at Cambria Animal Medical Center, occasionally helping out at Nipomo Dog & Cat Hospital.
Meusel auditioned for “Wheel of Fortune” in March 2017 when the Wheelmobile stopped at a Paso Robles car dealership. Additional tryouts came that April to La Bellasera Hotel & Suites in Paso Robles.
“I really wanted to be on the show. It’s been a dream of mine forever,” she said.
Meusel shot a “Swiss Holiday Week”-themed episode on Dec. 15 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. In addition to her mother and boyfriend, who sat in the audience cheering her on, Meusel got plenty of support from Sajak and White.
“They were so nice and personable,” the San Luis Obispo woman said of the hosts. “They really want you to do well. ... They really want you to win.”
Meusel can’t discuss exactly how well she did until the episode airs. But she’s excited to share her “Wheel of Fortune” adventure with her coworkers, friends and fellow Kennedy Club Fitness members at a viewing party at Laguna Grill in San Luis Obispo.
“It was quite the experience,” she said.
Watch Taralyn Meusel compete on “Wheel of Fortune” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on KSBY.