Local couple competes on game show Thursday

By Dana Hayward

Staff Writer

Photo courtesy Wheel of Fortune Pagosa Springs residents Sandy and Larry Reed appear on the long-running game show Wheel of Fortune. The Reeds appeared on the show’s Venetian Valentine’s Week, with their episode airing this evening. Photo courtesy Wheel of Fortune
Pagosa Springs residents Sandy and Larry Reed appear on the long-running game show Wheel of Fortune. The Reeds appeared on the show’s Venetian Valentine’s Week, with their episode airing this evening.[/caption]

Larry and Sandy Reed of Pagosa Springs will appear on tonight’s episode of Wheel of Fortune competing as a couple during Venetian Valentine’s Day Week on the show.

According to Sandy, she entered her husband’s name on wheeloffortune.com to be a contestant after noticing how quickly he could solve the puzzles. Larry told The SUN that he started watching Wheel of Fortune with his mother in the ‘90s. According to Sandy, her husband was a big Wheel of Fortune fan when they met, and the two started watching the show together in the evenings.

“He would get the darn puzzles after only two or three letters, and I told him he should really try to get on the show,” said Sandy.

After secretly entering her husband’s name online to be on Wheel of Fortune in October 2012, Sandy received an e-mail indicating that those that had shown interest in the show that were teachers, servicemen or wanted to appear with a partner as a couple should send a short video in. As she is not a serviceman or teacher and she was not interested in appearing as a couple, Sandy paid little attention to the e-mail. The next day, just before leaving home for a trip, she received yet another e-mail instructing her to send in a 30-second video of Larry that would describe him to the producers in addition to some photographs. The Reeds made the video on their trip to see Sandy’s daughter and their grandchildren.

Little did Sandy know that her husband also had secretly been involved in his getting onto Wheel of Fortune — he entered them to audition for the show as a couple. After receiving notice at home that they had been selected to audition as a couple for the show, the Reeds headed to Las Vegas for the audition last July.

“Out of maybe eighty or eighty-five couples and after two sessions of auditions, we made the final cut,” said Sandy. “The producers told us that we would be notified by letter within two weeks if we made it onto the show.”

After two weeks, a letter hadn’t come. The very next morning, however, the Reeds opened a letter from Wheel of Fortune inviting them to appear on the show as a couple during Venetian Valentine’s Day Week. The couple then traveled to Las Vegas a second time for filming last August. According to the Reeds, five episodes of Wheel of Fortune are filmed in one day, so they met many other contestants from around the country whose episodes have also aired or will air this week. The couple said they made a fun trip out of the filming and even brought local friends Jeff and Sandi Bomgaars along to enjoy the city. The Bomgaars will also make a brief appearance in tonight’s episode.

The Reeds met online while Sandy was working a summer job in Utah. According to the couple, they courted for about a year before marrying in March of 2007. Larry, originally from the San Diego area, moved to Pagosa in the early ‘90s, while Sandy relocated here from Phoenix upon marrying Larry. The couple described how their relationship grew into a romance based on common interests.

“While we were courting, we just played and camped and had a lot of fun together. We both really enjoy travel and often spend between three and four months out of the year traveling to various places around the world,” explained the Reeds.

The Reeds are also paranormal investigators, which determines some of their travel destinations. According to Sandy, Larry got her interested in paranormal investigation after they married. The couple is also active in the community. Larry is an active member of the High Country RC Club and Sandy is a volunteer leader at their church. Both are retired — Larry is a former police officer and Sandy was a station manager at a large shipping company before retiring.

Interestingly, both Reeds have made television appearances before. Larry told The SUN that he has appeared on the other popular game show Let’s Make a Deal more than once and that he has also been on the news a number of times in relation to his work as a policeman. Sandy appeared briefly in a Southwest Airlines commercial.

Both described their time on Wheel of Fortune as exciting, nerve racking and surreal. Sandy explained that during the filming of the show, her jobs were to spin the wheel and call out letters. According to her, Larry was in charge of solving the puzzles because of how well he does it.

“Everyone was very upbeat and the staff at the show kept you motivated,” said Sandy. “All of the producers and everyone we associated with was great. Vanna (White) is exceptional and was talking to everyone in the audience during commercial breaks. Pat Sajak is also very nice.”

Sajak and White have hosted Wheel of Fortune since its debut in 1983. Wheel of Fortune is currently in its 31st season and continues to be one of America’s most popular game shows.

The Reeds’ performance on the show cannot be revealed until after it airs later this evening, although they did tell The SUN that they “did very well.” A web update detailing the Reeds’ performance on Wheel of Fortune will be posted on pagosasun.com Friday.

“It’s been really difficult to keep how we did a secret,” said the Reeds. “Everybody wants to know what you won.”

According to Sandy, the filming seems long ago.

“It hasn’t gotten real for me until this week, especially seeing people on Wheel of Fortune that filmed the same day as us. I’ve definitely gotten more excited in the last couple of days. It’s going to be great once the show airs and we can get our winnings,” said Sandy.

The Wheel of Fortune episode will air at 6:30 p.m. tonight on ABC. The couple shared that they will be watching the episode on the big projector screen at The Bear Creek Saloon and Grill after enjoying dinner.