It’s not easy to snag Wheel of Fortune’s top prize. In order to even be eligible for a $1 million payday, contestants must be lucky enough to spin the big wheel and land on the million dollar prize slot – a 1-in-72 chance. They must then solve the main puzzle and win entry to the show’s bonus round – in which they spin yet another wheel, which gives them another 1-in-24 chance of landing on the big money – without ever hitting the dreaded “bankrupt” wedge.
But luck and skill collided last night for Autumn Erhard, an animal pharmaceuticals sales rep who had already racked up $30,00 in cash and prizes (trips to exotic Belize and… Arizona!) before she made it to the bonus round. Though she knew only four letters of the final two-word, 12-letter puzzle, Erhard guessed its solution instantly… only to discover that she’d just become the second person in Wheel history to win $1 million. (The first was Michelle Lowenstein in 2008, the same year the million dollar prize was first introduced.)
Take note, numerology nuts: Erhard is 30 years old, she appeared on Wheel during its “Celebrating 30” theme week – in honor of the show’s 30th anniversary – and her episode aired May 30. Clearly, the odds were in her favor.
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