‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant Wins $1 Million [Video]

Wheel of Fortune crowned a $1 million bonus-round winner for the second time in the show’s history on Thursday night, as contestant Autumn Ernhard didn’t hesitate with a guess with only four letters revealed.

It seems California one woman really knows when to spin and when to solve.

A California woman became “Wheel of Fortune’s” second million-dollar winner ever on Thursday — and she was pretty excited about it.

Her name is Autumn Erhard, and she was on the game show because it is celebrating its 30th season by having people with an important “30” in their lives on the show.

Ernhard was selected to participate in an episode this week because she is 30 years old.

After landing on the coveted million dollar wedge during the show’s earlier round, Ernhard headed into the bonus round with $1 million added to the grand-prize wheel and, it seems, a whole lot of luck.

Erhard picked a limited number of letters that were in the puzzle. She had only three letters to work with on the board. Since she had a Wild Card she got a chance to call another consolate. She ended up with these letters: T, G, R, T.

“This looks challenging to me,” relayed host Pat Sajak. “The category is Thing, you have 10 seconds.”

He did offer his usual encouragement to contestants. “Talk it out, you’re a good player, you never know…”

Immediately after the host stopped talking, Ernhard matter-of-factly answered: “Tough Workout.” The correct response seemed to elicit some surprise from even Sajak, who went on to happily congratulate the contestant for winning a total of $1,030,040.

“I am in complete and utter shock,” she said, according to ABC News.  “I’m shaking.  I came here today because I love the game, I wanted to have some fun and solve some puzzles – I feel like I’m in a dream!”

The impressive answer landed the contestant in select company. The only other $1 million winner was a New Jersey woman, Michelle Loewenstein, who claimed winnings of $1,026,800 in October 2008, writes Hollywood Reporter.

“I didn’t sleep that whole night,” Ernhard wrote Friday in a recap of the night on the Wheel of Fortune blog.

“I still didn’t believe it had happened, however, the paperwork was there sitting beside me to remind me that it did. What a crazy and adventurous couple of days. I guess turning thirty hasn’t been too bad!”

Erhard is an animal pharmaceuticals sales representative from Laguna Niguel, CA.  The University of California, San Diego, graduate is recently engaged and hoped that by being on Wheel of Fortune, she would win some money to help plan her wedding.

She was joined on set by her fiancé, Joey; father, Harold; and mother, Francine. They were just as shocked as she was.

“No one could believe it! They were just off stage and couldn’t see what my prize was. They were celebrating the fact that I solved the puzzle,” said Erhard.

“They kept asking me how much I won, and I had to keep repeating it because no one believed me at first.

“We always root for our contestants and enjoy giving away money and prizes that can change people’s lives for the better,” Executive Producer Wheel of Fortune Harry Friedman told ABC.

“We’ll stay in touch with Autumn and hopefully one day be able to show viewers how she used this money in one of our ‘Changing Lives’ segments.”

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