Fans of Wheel of Fortune will have the opportunity to audition for the television game show when the Wheelmobile rolls into town this weekend.
The Wheelmobile, a bright yellow 32-foot Winnebago, tours the country searching for contestants to appear on the show.
Auditions will take place at Derby Lane, 10490 Gandy Blvd., on Friday and Saturday. Auditions consist of Wheel of Fortune games scheduled for 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. each evening. David Strathearn, the marketing and promotions manager for Wheel of Fortune, said he expects several thousand people to attend.
Staffers will hand out applications an hour before each show and will choose five contestants at a time to appear on stage through a drawing.
Contestants who make it on stage will play a version of the Wheel of Fortune Speed-Up Round while staffers evaluate them, and all players will receive a prize. Judges will choose the best candidates to attend a final audition in the bay area within a few months.
Strathearn said judges look for people who understand the game and interact well with the host.
"With so many people auditioning, we look for something that separates you from the crowd," he said. "We are looking for people with a natural stage presence, who present energy and enthusiasm."
Last year, more than 1-million people asked for a chance to audition for the show. Strathearn said the Wheelmobile tour evolved out of a desire to find a fun way to screen potential contestants and ensure that people from different geographic areas have the opportunity to audition.
Since its inception in 1999, the Wheelmobile has traveled more than 200,000 miles and visited more than 150 cities.
Strathearn said people from all walks of life show up to Wheelmobile events, hoping to be one of fewer than 600 people chosen each year to appear on the show. "It's great to see so many people coming together with that common interest of being on the show," he said.
Michael Maharrey can be reached at (727) 893-8779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.