Cal Poly student takes a spin on 'Wheel of Fortune' this week

Cal Poly senior CJ Covington will appear on "Wheel of Fortune" on April 12, 2018.
Cal Poly senior CJ Covington will appear on "Wheel of Fortune" on April 12, 2018.

Cal Poly senior CJ Covington always dreamed of appearing on "Wheel of Fortune." But he couldn't have anticipated one crucial detail.

"I didn't think I'd be going on (the show) with such crazy hair," joked the communications major, whose naturally dark, curly locks are bleached blond on top.

TV viewers can scope out Covington's wild 'do Thursday when he competes against other college students on "Wheel of Fortune."

A "Wheel" watcher since childhood, Covington, 22, hails from Kailua, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. (Fun fact: He attended the same high school as former President Barack Obama.)

Covington credits his friends at Cal Poly with convincing him to try out for the show when the Wheelmobile came to campus in March 2017. "They thought I'd be good at it, and I guess everyone was kind of right," he recalled with a chuckle.

Covington shot an "America's Game"-themed episode of "Wheel of Fortune" in mid-February at Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City. His roommate cheered him on from the audience.

"For two weeks (before the taping), all I said was, 'Okay, ready to go make 50 grand,' " Covington said. "I wasn't nervous. I was just ready."

Hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, “Wheel of Fortune” is the longest running syndicated game show in U.S. history.

A handful of San Luis Obispo County residents have appeared on the show, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary, in recent months.

San Luis Obispo veterinarian Taralyn Meusel won $33,046 in cash and prizes, including trips to Ireland and the Alps, in January.

In February, Atascadero resident and Cal Poly graduate Kelly Wilson won $11,650 after appearing on "Wheel," while Paso Robles retiree Barbara McGregor took home $70,648 worth of cash and trips to Aruba and Spain.

Covington can't share how he fared on "Wheel of Fortune" until after his episode airs. But he said he did Cal Poly proud.

"As a comms major, I'm pretty good at literature," he said. "You don’t want to be the bio chem major going against me."

Tune in

Watch Cal Poly senior CJ Covington on "Wheel of Fortune" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on KSBY.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune