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Verona native wins big on Wheel of Fortune

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:19 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:39 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided)
Amy Johnson had her life-long dream of playing on "Wheel of Fortune" come true. The episode that taped in February aired Wednesday.
Caption
(Photo provided)
Amy Johnson from Verona stands next to cardboard cut outs of Pat Sajak and Vanna White after taping the popular game show "Wheel of Fortune."

CHICAGO – After keeping her silence for two months, Verona native Amy Johnson is finally able to talk about her performance on Wheel of Fortune, which aired Wednesday night.

Amy got together with about 30 of her friends at a viewing party at a restaurant in Chicago, where she now lives. Her friends cheered on her wins, and cheered on the other contestants’ misfortunes of landing on “bankrupt” and “lose a turn.”

“We watched in a private room and had the sound on, the room was dead quiet,” Johnson said. “Then they all stood up and cheered when I answered the first puzzle.”

Johnson won the first puzzle by solving “Caribbean Sea” for $1,000, taking the lead.

By round four, Johnson landed on the mystery prize where she had to decide whether to take the $1,000 that was visible or gamble for what was underneath. She chose to stay with the $1,000 and picked the letter R, which gained her $3,000, unbeknownst to her at the time the mystery was $10,000.

“My heart is saying no. I’m sorry,” Johnson said to host Pat Sajak when she passed on the gamble.

Her mother Sue, who was in the audience, said the studio had a scroll across the bottom of the monitors telling them to tell Amy to pick up the mystery, but the family was telling her no.

“I just found out tonight that it was $10,000,” Johnson said after watching the show. “I told myself going in if I landed on it and I had $3,000 or above, I would not pick it up. Of course now I wish I would have picked it up.”

After she won the puzzle solving “Pop Music Star Bruno Mars,” Sajak stepped over to her before going to commercial.

“It was kind of cute when you apologized,” Sajak said.

The theme of the show was Sandals Week and the prize puzzle included a trip to Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort owned by Sandals.

Johnson was the first to spin that round and the only player who had a chance to play as she solved the puzzle and won the trip, a camera and money, for a total value of $10,399.

Her total winnings for the show valued at $20,399, which led the contestants and got her into the bonus round at the end of the show.

Johnson had to choose three consonants and one vowel to add to the bonus round puzzle before her chance to solve. She chose C, D, M and A, which only gave her one more letter on the board.

“The one thing I regret is I wish I would have picked O instead of A,” Johnson said after the show aired. “The only reason I didn’t pick O was because I knew the middle word was of, and I knew the last world ended in ION, so I didn’t think there would be a lot of other O’s.”

Choosing O would have sent her home with another $30,000, the bonus puzzle was “hours of operation”.

Johnson’s aunt, Donna Clements, who also went with her to the show, said the family couldn’t even see the bonus round. They were moved to the front row to wave to the camera when they were introduced, and then whisked backstage in case she won the bonus round so they could go on stage with her.

“The whole experience was fun,” Clements said.

She said even though they were in the audience, they watched on a monitor, because from their seats, they couldn’t really see the wheel.

Johnson said although she wishes she would have won the bonus round, she won the trip, which was one thing she definitely wanted to win.

She’ll receive the vacation and the prize money 100 days after the show aired, and the trip must be taken between then and April 16, 2015.

“I’ll probably take the trip this winter,” she said. “The money after taxes will be less, but I’ll probably put it toward buying a home or something.”

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