Mokena woman gets spin at ‘Wheel of Fortune’
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org April 16, 2012 2:16PM
Updated: May 18, 2012 9:47AM
MOKENA — Selena Ryan is so excited, one would think she hit the Mega Millions jackpot.
Instead, the Mokena woman has won a second-chance drawing and an all-expenses-paid trip to Hollywood to play “Wheel of Fortune” with Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, this is like a 20,” Ryan said.
“I am really, really excited. I keep thinking I will wake up from a dream and it will not be real.”
According to the Illinois Lottery, it is definitely real.
Ryan was picked in February in one of three drawings for three winners each, and will join the others for five days and four nights in Hollywood from April 24 to 28. Plus, she gets $1,000 in spending money.
She played the lottery’s “Wheel of Fortune” instant game for quite a while and entered about 100 losing tickets in the second-chance drawing, she said.
She likes that game, but the second-chance tickets weren’t her motivation for buying the tickets.
“That was an added bonus,” she said.
The “Wheel of Fortune” instant game debuted in June 2011 and includes top prizes of $250,000, $10,000 and $1,000, according to the Illinois Lottery.
Ryan now finds herself watching the popular TV game show “more than ever,” and also boning up on her skills by playing “Words with Friends,” she said.
“I am eating, sleeping and dreaming ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ ” she said.
Once in Hollywood, the prize winners will be randomly selected to play a nonbroadcast, lottery-player-only “Wheel of Fortune” game, with the chance to win up to $1 million.
They also will be divided into groups, and one from each group will be randomly selected to participate in a $1 Million Bonus Wheel Spin-Off.
Entries not selected for the Hollywood trip will be entered into a preliminary second-chance drawing where nine names will be selected in August for a multistate drawing for a cash prize of up to $1 million.
Ryan said she doesn’t play a lot, but when she does, she usually buys her tickets at three different locations, including the gas station near her house or downtown where she works at the Illinois secretary of state’s office. She has won $50 to $150 on various tickets, saving half of her winnings and buying more tickets with the other half, she said.
“Some days are good, some days are bad,” she said. “You never know.”