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It’s the competition he loves, but the winnings are good, too

Richard Vehlow. — Photo by Carol Kaelson

By SHERRY HALBROOK

PEF member Richard Vehlow is one of those people who love to test their skills and compete. In fact, you may have seen him do it April 3 if you were watching ABC’s hit game show “Wheel of Fortune” at 7 p.m. that evening.

Vehlow, who is a professional engineer 1 at the state Office of General Services Real Estate Center in Albany, said the experience of being one of three contestants on the show that evening was both fun and stressful.

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“It was fun throughout, and only stressful when I was trying to get the last letter of one of the puzzles. Ultimately, I succeeded, and it was quite a relief,” he said.

He ended the half-hour program with $5,750 in winnings, but earning them was a bit harder than it looked.

“There’s a lot going on in the studio that a TV viewer just can’t see or appreciate,” Vehlow said. “Spinning a wheel assembly that weighs over a ton is quite the task. I just kept fixating on the puzzle and trying to solve it, to the extent that half the time, I didn’t know where the wheel stopped, except from the crowd’s and host Pat Sajak’s reactions. Then I had two capable opponents who rarely let any unsolved puzzle get by them. So, it was quite tough.”

Just to become a contestant, Vehlow said he had to pass two “tryout” competitions held last year in Saratoga Springs, one in June and the second in July.

“Ultimately, I got picked for the pool (of accepted contestants) and six months later I got the call to appear,” he said.

This wasn’t his only game show appearance. Vehlow was a contestant on “Jeopardy” in 2006, when he won $2,000. And he hopes to try his skills and luck again.

“Maybe next year, I’ll see what else I can try out for,” he said. “Tops on my list is ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire!’”

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