Mantecan Diane Wentworth is on The Wheel of Fortune Thursday night at 7 on Channel 10 as a contestant.
“It truly was a dream come true! It was one of the most memorable and enjoyable days of my life, of course behind things such as my wedding to Kevin and the birth of our two boys,” she said late Monday afternoon in a telephone interview.
She compliments host Pat Sajack as being the perfect person for the job as host.
“He is so endearing, going to each contestant to make each of us feel like we were the most special contestant. For me not to have my heart jump completely out of my skin made me proud of myself,” she said.
Sajack asked me about my family. When talking about their two boys, he leaned over to her and said he could see she was becoming teary eyed.
“They are my delight,” she responded.
A graduate pre-med student from University of Nevada in Reno, she added that she is a stay at home mom totally because of her children.
Wentworth ran track and cross country in Reno on a scholarship based on her achievements at a Concord High School.
She recalled that she was among 18 contestants that were picked up about 7:15 in the morning from a hotel in Culver City in Southern California. The contestants had just arrived at the studio an hour later when there was a large bang at their dressing room door – it was Vanna White. The famous letter flipper hadn’t fixed her hair and she had no makeup yet, Wentworth noted.
“She was very friendly and made us all feel very special as we were soon to be met by makeup artists,” Wentworth said.
“We started taping the show at 2:15 that afternoon. Four segments were taped and I was in the second one,” Wentworth said. “We practiced spinning the wheel – the 2,400-pound wheel that is difficult to spin. There is no way to predetermine where it ends because of its weight.”
She and other contestants were filmed for local TV stations’ advertisements for the program that took another several hours.
Wentworth remembers well the selection process that began last summer with some 5,400 people applying for the Wheel of Fortune program at the Jackson Rancheria. She made the cut two weeks later to 120 candidates for the show that would include a written test with the producers watching a screen test filming on a Rancheria television screen.
She was later included in a cut down to 21. The final cut was 18. It was two months later that she got the word she had been chosen in the last cut.
Traveling to Southern California to be with her on the program were her professional golfer husband Kevin Wentworth, her mother Nancy Bailey, three friends, Jennifer Reis, Tina King and Cyndi Esenwein, all of Manteca.