BP couple to appear on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Thursday

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A couple from Blooming Prairie will be on “Wheel of Fortune” Thursday evening.

M_ry and P_t_ K_tt_lson.

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The answer is Mary and Pete Kittelson.

Mary and Pete Kittleson are photographed on the set of “Wheel of Fortune.” The Blooming Prairie couple will appear on the popular gameshow Thursday night. Photo provided

Mary and Pete Kittleson are photographed on the set of “Wheel of Fortune.” The Blooming Prairie couple will appear on the popular gameshow Thursday night. Photo provided

“We truly, truly looked at it as just a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Mary said. “We enjoyed every minute of it. It was just very interesting.”

Many know Mary through her job at Worlein Funeral Home, but Thursday she and her husband will be on the nationally televised “Wheel of Fortune” for a couple’s competition.

The show airs at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on CBS. The Kittelsons will have a community viewing party starting at 5:30 p.m. in Blooming Prairie at the Cue Company and Pizza Cellar.

The party is open to friends and the public.

Mary auditioned for the show about a year ago in June with friends Judy Esplan, Becky Noble and Carol Heimerman. Last spring, the group decided to head to Mille Lacs, Minnesota, where a “Wheel Mobile” was doing auditions. Mary said she wasn’t chosen during the first round of random picks, but the second round she was chosen. Four months later in September, she received an email asking her to go to a more vigorous round of auditions in St. Paul. The email also said there were couple competition auditions, so she signed up Pete as well.

“I signed him up and when he came home for dinner that night I was like, ‘Honey, we need to talk,’” Mary laughed.

In October, the couple headed to St. Paul and passed a three-hour audition process, though they didn’t find out they passed until close to Christmas.

“Time went by and we figured that was the end of it,” Mary said.

Pete received a phone call around Christmas asking if the couple was still interested in participating on the show. Mary recalled his answer well.

“Do you know how much trouble I’d be in if I said no?” Mary recalled Pete saying.

The show was taped Jan. 15 at Sony Studios in Los Angeles. Mary said more than a million people go to auditions each year in some fashion, around 10,000 people get auditioned, and about 600 people get to be on the show each year.

“We loved every minute of it,” Mary said. “We just thought this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, you have to understand that my husband is really quiet, so he was a great sport to go along on this little adventure. But that’s exactly how we looked at it, is it was as an adventure.”

The couple was also able to see the set of “Jeopardy” and met many people at the studio.

“Everybody at Sony Studios was so nice, and we just learned a lot,” she said.

The community support Mary and Pete have gotten since they were on the show has been great, according to Mary.

“People have just been happy for us and have kind of shared in the experience with us,” she said. “And that’s really been nice.”

Contestants are not allowed to reveal who won or how they did before the show airs, but Mary joked that she did not become a millionaire.

“It wasn’t a life-changing event but it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.

“It’s been just a fun experience, and I owe it all to my crazy girlfriends,” she added with a laugh.