The cheers grew louder when she solved the puzzle. Another level of excitement was reached when the crowd realized Breaden had qualified for the bonus round.
“I’m just really excited that everyone got to see it and that I made it to the bonus round. It was just such a fun experience,” Breaden said.
The Lee student’s twin sister, Chelsea, drove to the Lee campus to participate in the event.
“It’s so unreal,” Chelsea Breaden said. “Actually seeing her there was so unbelievable and so exciting.”
Although she couldn’t guess the final phrase, Courtney Breaden did win $21,800, thanks to a wild card giving her $3,500 per letter and a trip to St. Lucia.
Breaden was the only player who spun the wheel on the puzzle she solved. Breaden said she got more nervous with every spin of the wheel.
“I was surprised that it didn’t [stop] on bankrupt,” Breaden said.
Having a wild card came in handy.
“It was crazy that I won that much money on it, but the thing that saved me was that I had that wild card. Pat [Sajak] told me to use it when I landed on the $3,500, because it allows you to get $3,500 for every letter you guess right,” Breaden said.
The senior said the money will likely go toward paying off student loans. The trip will be her honeymoon.
“And we get this awesome camera that comes with the whole prize package, and they give us money to spend on the trip, and its all-inclusive, so it’s just awesome that I won that trip,” Breaden said.
After the show, friends began congratulating Breaden, both in person and through texting.
“I feel so honored that the school put this on and all my friends came to watch it. I feel really supported and loved,” Breaden said. “I didn’t know so many people would get into ‘Wheel of Fortune.’”
Breaden said watching herself on the show was definitely a different experience than competing.
“It was interesting to see how I reacted to everything. I could tell when I was nervous,” Breaden said.
Breaden’s fiancé, Jordan Ramos, was also excited about how well she did on the show.
“In the moment it felt so surreal,” Ramos said.
Ramos had gone to Los Angeles for the show.
“It is cool to go out there and see California for the first time — interesting place,” Ramos said.
He said he enjoyed getting to see the behind-the-scenes elements of the show.
“I was getting nervous just being in the stands, so I can’t imagine how nervous she was on stage,” Ramos said.
He said it was hard not to react while watching Breaden compete.
He said the show has guidelines restricting those watching to ensure that those in the stands are not helping the contestants solve the puzzles.
“We like jumped up and started cheering in the stands, and the people that were watching us were like ‘Sit down.’ … The people working there didn’t like us too much because we were pretty rowdy,” Ramos said.
He said it meant a lot to Lee University to have a student participate in the TV game show’s “College Week.”