Kim Crown will appear on the popular game show when it airs tonight

by: COURTESY OF CAROL KAELSON - Sherwood's Kim Crown will appear on this Thursday's 'Wheel of Fortune.' Although she can't reveal what she won, she says, 'I tell people I did really well and it's well worth watching.'After months of waiting and anticipation, Sherwood resident Kim Crown will finally get to “solve the puzzle” in front of her family and friends as her segment of “Wheel of Fortune” airs.

Tonight, Crown will be one of three guests to compete on the popular game show.

“We did the taping July 13,” said the 44-year-old mother of four who has been anxiously awaiting news of this day.

And although she’s forbidden to talk about the outcome of show until it’s on the air, “I tell people I did really well, and it’s well worth watching,” said Crown.

But her debut television appearance was a circuitous one.

Crown originally tried out to be on the game show last March when she traveled to the Portland Marriott Hotel, joining 50 other contestants. Eventually, that group was trimmed to 15. Crown waited for the call that arrived two weeks later telling her she wasn’t selected as a regular contestant, but was named one of two alternates.

Still, she was thrilled to be part of the “Wheel” phenomenon when it taped at the Oregon Convention Center in April.

“I literally sat at the Convention Center for 13 hours,” said Crown, a Sherwood resident since 1998. “You’re sequestered.”

That meant no magazines, no phone — nothing.

The reward for her efforts was a guarantee that Crown, who works as a property manager in Tigard, would be a future contestant on the show.

Crown got her much-anticipated call July 3, when “Wheel of Fortune” producers asked if she could fly out to Los Angeles for a July 13 taping of the show.

Although the show doesn’t provide money for air fare, Crown didn’t waste any time channeling her “inner wheel” to make sure she was ready for the day of reckoning.

“I trained for it,” said Crown, whose enthusiasm about being on the show can still be heard in her voice four months later. “I solved over 600 puzzles online.”

She also downloaded a “Wheel of Fortune” app to her phone so she could continue solving word puzzles.

The extensive practicing soon helped train her to recognize letter patterns.

On July 12, Crown and her husband Brad flew to Culver City, Calif., for a grueling day of taping, which in the end turned out to be “super fun.” At PDX, she even crossed paths with the other alternate contestant who also was headed to the show.

Remembering a story she read about a woman who won a $111 million lottery jackpot after she wrote notes to herself telling her she would win the jackpot (that woman tucked them under her pillow), Crown did something similar.

On one side of her note, Crown wrote that she would be a “Wheel” contestant, and on the other side she wrote she would win money and prizes. She placed the note in her pocket when she competed on the show.

She had to sit through six tapings before being selected for the final show of the day.

And for the answers to all those questions you “Wheel” fans have about the show, here they are:

The hosts: Pat Sajak is really nice and Vanna White is sweet and “down to earth,” said Crown.

The wheel: It’s really heavy, and you have to bend over from atop a pedestal to give it a turn. If Sajak thinks you’re trying to aim the wheel, you’ll hear about it.

What she wore: a teal shirt and white capris. (The producers suggest certain colors that will play well on television.)

The money/prize thing: Even contestants who don’t solve a single puzzle still get a $1,000 consolation prize, which can help defray travel expenses.

The “icing on the cake” is that among the week’s 15 contestants, Crown was selected to write the Wheel of Fortune blog for the week, which started appearing Monday.

Meanwhile, Crown will join family — she has four children, ages 10 to 24 — and friends at AJ’s Sports Pub and Grub in Sherwood to watch herself on the Nov. 8 show. It airs at 7:30 p.m. on KATU Channel 2.

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