A Jacksonville woman won $51,500 cash in a “Wheel of Fortune” episode that aired Thursday night, meaning she will be able to replace the ailing 10-year-old Dodge Avenger she’s been driving.
Still, Mary Dean has to hope the old car has a little life left in it: There’s a four-month lag between winning and getting the money. Not that she’s complaining.
“It would have been worth it even if you don’t win a lot,” Dean said. “But it was more fun to win.”
She won the bulk of the money, $36,000, in a bonus round, coming in first among three contestants in a show that taped March 1. She laughed when asked what was going through her mind when she won.
“I’m just hoping I reacted well. I’m not one to bounce around,” she said. “One of the best things was when I got to look up and see my son and sister in the crowd, and they got to run out on stage.”
Dean, 62, lives in Baymeadows and works for a medical practice in Jacksonville. She said there was a chance on her show to play for a million-dollar prize, but she didn’t get it. “I don’t care. Fifty-thousand is pretty good,” she said.
She was invited to the show after going first to an open audition in Savannah, then being asked to come back for another one in the same city. She’s a reader and puzzle player, which helped her and would help others.
She has another tip to would-be contestants: Follow directions. “I noticed at the audition in Savannah that so many people they, well, didn’t follow directions, to be honest,” she said.
Still, Dean had this encouragement. “I highly recommend people trying out,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun”
Matt Soergel: (904) 359-4082