MONTICELLO — After a moment’s celebrity as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, retired Twin Lakes teacher Teri Roscka won big.
She earned $20,648 in cash and prizes, including a tour of the islands of Greece from Collette Tours, during the episode, which aired Jan. 21 on WTHR Channel 13.
“There was a lot that I had forgotten about different puzzles,” Roscka said. “But it was a great experience and I’m glad I did it.”
She said there are no immediate plans for taking the trip, but she will be making them soon now that the episode has aired.
So when she auditioned for “Wheel of Fortune” — her favorite game show — it was no surprise that she landed one of three spots on one of the nation’s longest-running evening programs.
The show features a competition in which contestants solve word puzzles, similar to those used in Hangman, to win cash and prizes determined by spinning a giant carnival wheel.
Roscka, a retired Twin Lakes business teacher, was encouraged to try out for Wheel of Fortune by her daughter, Ashley, so they recorded an audition video utilizing the family business — Miller-Roscka Funeral Home.
The video, which readers can view on www.thehj.com, shows Roscka rising up from inside a casket to share why she wanted to play “Wheel of Fortune.” After she comes to a sitting position inside the casket, she says, “I live for Wheel of Fortune.”
Roscka then sent the audition video to the game show, and in November received a letter inviting her to additional audition activities in Chicago.
“It was some testing of playing the game, as well as oral and written testing to determine who was a good contestant,” she said.
Roscka said she was amazed by a doctor from Indianapolis who solved a puzzle with only two letters revealed during the Chicago audition.
She said not everyone who auditioned in Chicago was invited to the actual show.
“If you got picked to proceed, you received a letter with dates of taping, and if a person isn’t chosen, they can’t reapply for a year,” Roscka said. “I got my letter a couple weeks (after the Chicago audition) for the taping on Dec. 5 — and it happened to be (show host) Pat Sajak’s first day back after having surgery. They said it wasn’t a normal day because news crews were there to report on Pat’s return to the show.”
Roscka and her husband, John, and her mother attended the taping and said they had a great experience seeing how the game show takes place.
Roscka enjoys traveling, reading, and cheering on her favorite hometown teams: the Colts and the Indiana University basketball team. She has been watching Wheel of Fortune for more than 25 years.
She added that she often told her students to try not to limit themselves by not reaching beyond everyday boundaries.
“You don’t know what you can accomplish unless you try,” Roscka said.