'Wheel of Fortune' contestant loses the game, wins the audience over
An Arizona man became a Wheel of Fortune favorite this week.
21-year-old Trent Girone has Tourettes and Asperger's Syndrome. He's also survived nine brain surgeries and open-heart surgery. The contestant started strong, winning $1,000 after successfully guessing the first puzzle.
Trent says he's been following the game show since he was just 2 years old, so it's no surprise he could answer a little unexpected trivia successfully, as well.
Pat: "They tell me you know pretty much anything there is to know about Wheel of Fortune."
Trent: "Well pretty much anything yeah."
Pat: "Ok, I'm gonna try ya. Can you name a category that we used to have that we no longer have on the show?"
Trent: "Mega Word!"
Pat Sajak was delighted, and he told Trent that he really couldn't stand that category.
Trent was even a smashing success on social media. Throughout the night, the hashtag "#TeamTrent" was trending.
Trent went on to guess one more puzzle correctly, but then spun bankrupt with just three letters to go on the final puzzle.
He also offered some advice to future contestants on his profile, saying, "... relax and have a good time. It is a lot of fun, whether you win big or not. That is my number one guarantee."
The Huffington Post notes that Trent is the first contestant with special needs in the show's 6,000-episode history.
Check out Trent's entire blog post below:
I decided to be a contestant because I have been a fan of the show since I was at least two years of age. I love the show and wanted to be part of its history. I thought I would do a great job at solving puzzles.
I have applied to be on the show at every opportunity, from "Face of the Fan" to the recent Wheelmobile event at the University of Phoenix Stadium in March 2013. I believe I was chosen from that event when I enthusiastically solved the slogan "L'eggo my Eggo".
After being notified that I would be a contestant after my final May audtition at the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale, I watched every single episode I could, incluing Saturday morning reruns of the past season episodes. I also played the game on every available platform as often as possible.
The first thing my family and friends said when I found out I was going to be on the show was of course, congratulations, and they also asked when it would air. Then they told me that I would do great, and that they were very proud of me.
Meeting Pat, during the third taping of the day I was on the show, was as awesome and amazing as it could be. I even mentioned the infamous category, "Megaword". However, I did not get to talk to Vanna, but sure wish I had been able to!
While on camera, I was very relaxed and focused the whole time, and did my best to be myslef and make sure not to call any lettrs already called.
My best advice to future contestants is to relax and have a good time. It is a lot of fun, whether you win big or not. That is my number one guarantee.
I want to thank all of the contestant staf for taking the time to help me, and would like to thanks Pat Sajak for his assistance, as well. I have some physical challenges that they were aware of and they made sure I was safe and comfortable.
February 27, 2014 was one of the BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE! Thanks, Wheel of Fortune!