Greenville graduate to be on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ next week


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:11 am on Thursday, November 08, 2012

Jonny Shinabarger, 23, a 2007 Greenville High School graduate, and Anna Shinabarger, 21, both of San Diego, will be contestants on “Wheel of Fortune,” which will air at 7 p.m. Tuesday. — Courtesy photo

GREENVILLE — A Greenville graduate and his wife will be appearing on a popular evening game show next week.

Jonny Shinabarger, 23, a 2007 Greenville High School graduate, and Anna Shinabarger, 21, both of San Diego, will be contestants on “Wheel of Fortune,” which will air Tuesday.

“We were ecstatic,” Jonny Shinabarger said of when they found out they were picked for the show.

“Wheel of Fortune” airs locally at 7 p.m. on WWMT and is a game show where contestants try to solve puzzles to win prizes that are determined by a prize wheel. According to the “Wheel of Fortune” website, adult contestants can sign up individually or for different themed weeks.

“Whether we’re taping in our hometown of Culver City, Calif., or out on the road, each week of Wheel is tied to a special theme that might drive the set design, the prizing and possibly the puzzles,” the website states.

The Shinabargers registered with interest in individual, couples and military shows, as Jonny Shinabarger is currently in the military as a sergeant in the Marine Corps.

“I had received an email saying that we had been chosen to audition for the military-couples week,” he said.

They auditioned with 25 couples and had to solve various puzzles “that seemed impossible,” on paper. Half of the couples were let go after the phase, but the Shinabargers were able to stay and play more games during the audition.

“I didn’t do too well, but Anna did decent,” Jonny Shinabarger said. “We didn’t have great luck calling out obvious letters, but we were extremely enthusiastic and always kept a smile.”

After the audition, they were told they would receive a call within two weeks if they made the taping of the show.

It was 22 days after the audition when Jonny Shinabarger received the call.

“Words can’t even describe how excited I was,” he said, noting his wife did not believe him at first. “When she found out I was serious, she was almost in tears with happiness.”

Although the Shinabargers cannot comment on how they did on the show, Jonny Shinabarger said their overall experience was great.

The staff at “Wheel of Fortune,” he said, was “extremely respectful” and “appreciative of our service to the nation.”

“We found out that the show is a million times easier sitting on the couch, screaming out answers like they can hear you through the TV,” Jonny Shinabarger said. “We were both anxious and nervous during the taping.”

The Winter Inn in Greenville will be airing the show on Tuesday night, so residents have the opportunity to see the Shinabargers in action.

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