Watching ‘Wheel' Put Contestant on a Roll
He'd like to solve the puzzle. In mid-December, Matthew Rossiter '04 was able to solve quite a few on the set of his favorite game show in front of millions on national TV.
"I've been watching ‘Wheel of Fortune' for as long as I can remember ⎯ first when I lived with my mom as a kid, then when I lived with my dad and grandmother as a young adult and even now as a parent in my 30s," said Rossiter, who currently resides in New Hampshire.
After filing an online application to be a contestant on the show a few years back, Rossiter was pretty surprised he would be taking his puzzle-solving skills from the couch to contestant status last year.
"As nerdy as it sounds, I just love being able to guess phrases and words with only a few letters showing," Rossiter said. "It's not even the prizes or the chance to win money that hooked me to the show, it was just the puzzles."
The contestant selection process was rather grueling, according to the admittedly shy Rossiter, who had to couple his talent with bravado to make the cut out of some 60 others vying for a spot around the famous wheel.
"They tell you what they are looking for, but you never know if you have it," he said. "I knew I was a great puzzle solver, but was that enough? Did I talk clearly and loudly enough? Did I have that energetic presence they say they want?"
Rossiter had that and then some, making it all the way to the final round. He didn't take home the grand prize, but managed to snag about $15,000 in winnings.
Besides purchasing an iPad for his wife and an HDTV, he's holding on to the cash.
The SUNY Oswego roots run deep for Rossiter, who proudly sported an Oswego State sweatshirt during a "Wheel of Fortune" watch party with family and friends. Even before he attended, several of his immediate family members worked on campus.
He ranks his five years working at Cooper Dining Hall as the best job he ever had and says Oswego was just as memorable an experience as his moments spent on camera for his favorite show.
"I think of SUNY Oswego as more than my alma mater," Rossiter said. "It's a living scrapbook of my life."
— Shane M. Liebler
Matthew Rossiter '04 played the mobile phone version of "Wheel of Fortune" and watched the show every night to prepare for his appearance on the famous program. Below, Rossiter enjoys his appearance with family and friends, who gathered for a watch party the night the taped episode of "Wheel" aired in December.
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