Betsy Kosier of Carson City says she’s notorious for running late. So when she blurted out the puzzle answer in the bonus round of the “Wheel of Fortune” episode that aired Friday night, she delighted at the irony.
“I laughed and I said, ‘It’s ‘Behind schedule!’ Everybody, my friends who have known me for a long time and my family, just thought it was hysterical that I got that for the puzzle,” she said. “It was perfect.”
Kosier won $51,499 in cash and prizes, including a trip to the Virgin Islands, in her victorious turn on the classic TV game show. She said she has been watching the show as long as she can remember, and she applied online after learning there would be tapings in Las Vegas.
That led to an audition involving a one-minute video that she recorded on her cellphone, followed by written tests and, finally, an invitation to appear.
Kosier and several family members visited Vegas for the show’s taping in late July. She reflected on the experience Friday afternoon, about five hours before she was set to watch the show at a party hosted by her sister in Mill Valley, Calif.
Kosier wasn’t nervous about seeing herself on TV.
“If you’re gonna be in the public, you want to make sure you handled yourself well,” she said. “I think I did, but I want to confirm that.”
Kosier and other contestants arrived at the Palazzo by 8:45 a.m. and were quickly sequestered. Five shows are taped per day, and Kosier’s was set to be filmed last, around 7:30 p.m. Audience members arrive about 2 p.m.
Show organizers offer contestants tips before filming and talk with family members about the importance of not offering assistance from the crowd. Kosier said her family took that advice seriously; when she’d turn to look at them from the stage, none would make eye contact with her.
Kosier wasn’t particularly nervous being in front of a crowd. The owner of Interaction Alliance is a mediator who does group facilitation, which involves lots of training and teaching. Her only worry was ensuring she remembered everything she was supposed to do.
“I will tell you, the hardest thing was moving the wheel,” she said. “It was incredibly heavy.”
Kosier’s sister, Teresa Rea, helped prepare her for the experience. Both watched “Wheel of Fortune” with their parents in their younger years.
“Our family was very language and word game enthusiastic,” Kosier said. “We liked figuring out things related to language and words and vocabulary.”
That acumen paid off with Kosier’s “Wheel” win.
“I was stunned and excited and kind of incredulous,” she said of her reaction. “I couldn’t believe it.”
As for what she’s going to do with her winnings, “We’ll try to find ways to share our good fortune. I have some projects and some causes that might land on the radar screen.”
Rea was among the family members who watched Kosier’s win in person. She described the experience as a thrill Friday.
“When she won the first bonus puzzle, we all kind of sat back in our chairs and felt relieved. ‘OK, she won something, so it’s all good,’” she said. “And then she went on from there. We were all just beyond thrilled for her.”